When Violence Comes To Campus

Once havens of tolerance, Iraq's universities are becoming battlefields in an escalating civil war

On May 3, when the members of Iraq's new government were sworn in, Masar Sarhan al-Rubaiyi, 24, a pharmacy undergraduate at the University of Baghdad, decided to throw a party. As a supporter of a Shi'ite political party, al-Rubaiyi was celebrating the ascent of the country's Shi'ite majority after decades of repression under Saddam Hussein. But the revelry turned sour after officials at the college of pharmacy asked al-Rubaiyi and his friends to break up the event, saying it violated a university policy banning sectarian gatherings on campus. The students refused the request, and al-Rubaiyi scuffled with the bodyguard of the...

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