Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kurdish student shoots dead his American teacher in Sulaimaniyah

ERBIL, March 1 – A high school student in Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan Region's second largest city, has shot dead his American teacher before putting a bullet in his own head.

Authorities say the motives for the killing of the teacher remains unknown while investigations are still ongoing to disclose the details of the incident.

Spokesman for Sulaimaniyah police Sarkawt Ahmed said: "We've launched an investigation into the incident where a student killed his teacher at Sulaimaniyah's Medya School."

The 18-year-old Bayar Sarwar had hidden a gun in his bag when he went to his school – a private school where the language of instruction is English and the majority of the teachers are Americans - this morning. According to reports, He walked up to his teacher, Jeremiah Small, to speak to him for while and then draw his gun to shoot the teacher four times. Then he shot himself.

The teacher died on the spot. But the student died as few hours later in hospital.

There were various stories on facebook about what really happened on the ground. One person identifying himself as Ali Muzhda and one of Sarwar's schoolmates said there were heated debates over the past two weeks in the school between the teacher and the students about Islam. 

Ali Muzhda said the teacher was telling the students that Islam is the religion of hate and was associated with terrorism which angered Bayar Sarwar. The class had polarized on pro and against as well, according to Ali Muzhda.

Sulaimaniyah mayor Zana Mohammed told AKnews that there was "an issue between the student and his teacher" but did not clarify what type of issue.

"The motive for killing the teacher is still under investigation. We can't comment on that until the results are out,"

I personally think that whatever happened that day it was a tragedy because two lives were lost. Whatever the student's motivation, be it political, religious, or simply a quarrel, I think the incident hurt the image of Kurdistan as a welcoming, hospitable, and open to foreigners culture. I am sorry that this had to happen.

read more about this issue in my other post where Bayar's father, in an interview with Rudaw, sheds light on his son's motivation: Issues related with religion pushed Kurdish student to shoot his American teacher, says father of the student

I grabbed this photo I grabbed from a facebook page. Bayar, according to reports  threatened his school friends, too.(I was told by an anonymous reader, who was apparently one of Mr Bayar Sarwar's friends, that this photo was taken during a dress up party and it is not in fact of Mr Bayar)

 In this photo, the American teacher Jeremiah Small appears in Kurdish traditional clothes: second on the right

This is a screenshot of the comments of Ali Muzhda on facebook


  1. I don't know where you get your information from. I'm assuming you have made some of it up! That photo is from at least many months previously during a dressing up party at the school.
    How ridiculous to try and suggest that he would take a photo threatening his friends in between the shooting of the teacher and then himself. Your information is incorrect with regards to the photo and I hope you correct it.

    1. I am not making things up, just reporting what is being debated! and I am making it clear that it is not me who says this photo was taken minutes after the shooting if you carefully read it again, the photo caption says "according to reports" but i think it would be for the best to remove this one. But could at least confirm to me whether the boy who appear in the photo with the gun is actually Bayar?

    2. If you are reporting on what is "being debated," then you are not even "reporting," and you are not presenting facts. You are presenting gossip, which is useless. I took away very little from this story other than gossip. Additionally, young American teachers serving in northern Iraq are idealistic and are there because they care about the students and have a healthy respect for Islam. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise. This "story" should never have been published, and your unfounded, unproven suggestion that Jeremiah called Islam a hateful religion is repulsive and hateful. You turn to Facebook for facts? Facebook? Are you kidding me?

    3. Hey anonymous friend, this is not a news agency who can get facts from officials in the blink of an eye. This is a blog, a one-person blog. And yes I am reporting what is being debated because this is not a news article on Reuters, AP or AFP. This is a blog where discussions, debates and suchlike are being published.

      Besides, I never suggested he did not have respect for Islam. As I don't accept from anyone tell me that I don't have respect for Christianity, I won't allow myself to say that someone like mr Small did not have respect for Islam.

      And thsi is not the first time that IO am saying this "It is not me who says or suggests that Mr Small had entered arguments involving Islam" but some of Sarwar's friends. I make it very clear by saying "According to reports" which means it may be true and may not be. And the only reason I included this part in this article is that It makes no sense to say there was no political, religious or any other dimension to the murder-suicide. Does anyone kill a man and then shoot himself for no reason?? hell No!! there always are reasons for such acts, and i did not find any other reasons being reported by people other than this one that there was religious motivations! that's it you can take it or leave it!

      As for the last part of your comment, dude, I never called the part which says "Jeremiah called Islam a hateful religion" a fact, so that you call it a fact!!!!

      best regards

    4. Spreading rumors, which is akin to debates, is just as bad. It is no help in getting to the bottom of this terrible news. You wrote: "Of course the incident was very sad.. I personally think that it can also harm the reputation of our region which has been known as respecting foreigners a lot." For that I thank you. No stronger truth has ever been spoken.

    5. Thanks Raber gyan for umploading this article. I do not know how one can close his/her eyes on a very clear fact where the doors are wide open. Anonymous, either you find people illiterate or you want to distort reality. That is not we, people, say that they are evangelical groups that's their mouths, purposes and actions. If you take a quick look at Mr. Jeremia's school website where it clearly says they teach students Bible (Off-Campus Relationships:
      Team members are actively engaged in building discipleship relationships with teachers, students, their families, and others in the community. As part of this, team members lead an ever-growing variety of after-school programs and activities including an orchestra, journalism club, Bible studies, outdoor excursions (hiking & mountain climbing), young girls groups, and book clubs. {}) and there's an evangelical website link in that website, what do students need such groups. Raber, I was speaking with a evangelic man in Soran, he was trying to convince me that he just came here for charity program and where many Kurdish Bible-translations flooded on his shelf and evangelical CDs and DVDs, do you guys think we came from another planet? I am not claiming such reaction should be done towards them since it's not our duty, it's govt career.

  2. Ali Muzhda said it is not.Does not look like him to me. Think someone has circulated someone else's photo

  3. I would really like to get in touch with some people who know what actually happened on the ground. some of bayar's friends may be? anyone here can tell us what really happened?

  4. It would be nice if you also commented on all the nice comments from the teachesr facebook, or are you afraid that readers dont like good news?

    1. No I am not. the thing is, all the incidents took place in the school not on facebook I need to find out what happened in the school whether I get the info from news outlets, friends who know something, or from facebook discussions. The teacher's comments are not part of what happened in the school or part of the discussions on facebook after his death. Of course the incident was very sad.. I personally think that it can also harm the reputation of our region which has been known as respecting foreigners a lot.


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