Baghdad bikers aim to unite Iraqis, forbid members to discuss politics

Source:Reuters Published: 2019/1/22 17:58:40

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, while others make do with bikes pimped-up to look something like the "Easy Rider" dream machines.

"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.

"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," Bayati said, referring to sectarian violence.

With his black bandana and goatee, the leader of the Baghdad pack, known as "Captain," looks the epitome of the American biker-outlaw.


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