Doctor Khalid Abd’ Al-Hadi Al-Ghawas was killed in January. This video shows his funeral in Baghdad, just one of the thousands of Iraqis already killed in 2007 during the ongoing fighting. In the last month, there are believed to have been at least 234 murders in Baghdad during the first 11 days of May alone.
Doctor Al-Ghawas had two sons and worked at Waqf Al-Sunni, the Sunni Endowment, an organization created to oversee Sunni Iraqi mosques and other important places. He worked at the Endowment for more than twenty years and was very famous in Iraq. Although he was a Sunni, he lived in the Al-Cairo neighborhood, east of Adhamiya, which is a primarily Shi’a district. When he was killed the news was broadcast by stations all over the Arab world, but we believe this to be the first time his funeral has been broadcast to the world.
The circumstances of his death are still a bit mysterious, however it is believed he was kidnapped by a militia while leaving his house on his way to work last January. Witnesses have said that his car was hijacked with the intent to kidnap him, but the militia members’ plan went awry when one of their tires was punctured. It is believed at this point they took him back out of the car and shot him dead in the street a few blocks from his house in the Cairo neighborhood.
According to Iraqi Rabita[translated from Arabic]:
Some eyewitnesses claim a Shi’a militia assassinated Dr. Khalid Al-Ghawas, an advisor of the Sunni Endowment and that three cars with armed men attacked him in front his house, which sits behind Al-Shuhada mosque with a rain of bullets causing him immediate death.
Mr. Al-Ghawas was considered a famous man and he used to work as an advisor in the Sunni endowment, since the creation of the Endowment. He is an expert in the issues of the Endowment and its management, and his assassination is considered a new episode in the targeting of important Sunni men and educated people in the country.
The assassination of academics, professionals, and educated people has been an ongoing problem in Baghdad, leading to the emigration of many prominent Iraqis to other countries. This is seen by many as one of the primary issues that must be solved, if stability is ever to be achieved in Iraq.
For more about the assassinations of academics and professionals in Iraq, see this story written by Brian Conley and Isam Rasheed in 2006, and the Brussels Tribunal keeps an updated list of academics killed during the war.