Get me rewrite!

Image from A Tangled Web, background on Omar Shamshoon here.

The Tribune reports:


Omar is a Sunni name. And Omars are turning up dead.

BAGHDAD — When Omar Mashhadani heard the reports that 12 Sunni men whose bodies were found dumped on a garbage heap near his home had all been named Omar, he figured it was time to get a new name.

“I started to feel frightened after hearing stories that they are killing people named Omar and that there are checkpoints where they arrest people named Omar,” said Mashhadani, a 32-year-old electronics engineer who lives in western Baghdad. “Then two of my friends named Omar from the mosque and one from work changed their names. I decided it was best to be on the safe side.”

So Mashhadani became Ammar, a name that unlike Omar could be either Sunni or Shiite. “It sounds like Omar, and if someone calls you, you will remember that it’s you,” he said.

As the number of sectarian killings in Iraq soars, and Iraqis on both sides of the Sunni-Shiite divide feel increasingly nervous about mingling with the opposite sect, name-changing is on the rise.

But perhaps no one feels as threatened as those called Omar, a name that is both commonplace and exclusively Sunni. At registry offices in Baghdad, lawyers and clerks report a surge of inquiries by Omars seeking to change their names, usually to the similar-sounding and religiously neutral Ammar…”

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