BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Roaring along Baghdad’s highways, the “Iraq Bikers” are doing more than showing off their love of outsized motorcycles and black leather: they want their shared enthusiasm to help heal Iraq’s deep sectarian rifts.
Weaving in and out of traffic, only the lucky few ride Harley Davidsons – a rare and expensive brand in Iraq – while others make do with bikes pimped-up to look something like the “Easy Rider” dream machines.
Goal - Brotherhood - Bilal - Al-Bayati - Government
“Our goal is to build a brotherhood,” said Bilal al-Bayati, 42, a government employee who founded the club in 2012 with the aim of improving the image of biker gangs and to promote unity after years of sectarian conflict.
That is why the first rule of his bikers club is: you do not talk about politics.
Politics - Members - Bayati - Reuters - Bikers
“It is absolutely prohibited to talk politics among members,” Bayati told Reuters as he sat with fellow bikers in a shisha cafe, a regular hangout for members.
“Whenever politics is mentioned, the members are warned once or twice and then expelled. We no longer have the strength to endure these tragedies or to repeat them,” he said, referring to sectarian violence.
Bandana - Goatee - Leader - Baghdad - Pack
With his black bandana and goatee, the leader of the Baghdad pack, known as “Captain”, looks the...
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