Iraqi History Department Chairman Killed in Basra After Hiring Sunni Professors

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The body of Jumhour el-Zergany was found dumped alongside the road. Zergany had been tortured, his arms broken, before his tormentors finally put three bullets in his head. His crime, according to another professor who studied under him, was that he had converted years before from Shia to Sunni Islam and had dared to hire religious Sunni professors in the history department that he chaired.

A police van was seen by witnesses to have stopped Zergany's car at the time of his disappearance, and police vehicles and sometimes men in police uniforms have been involved in others of the hundreds - perhaps as many as 1,000 - assassinations in Basra in the past 18 months.

It is not just Sunnis who are being targeted in this majority Shia city, the professor said, but other Shia as well. All professors - particularly those interested in politics, like himself - are in danger. And not just professors, but judges, and doctors and journalists. And politicians who are seen as secular alternatives to the clergy now in power. And those, especially women, who work for foreigners. And Christians.

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