Estimates of the number of professors killed since the 2003 invasion range from 250 to 1,000. At the University of Baghdad alone, 78 professors have been killed, according to the London-based Council for Assisting Refugee Academics.
"Terrorism is targeting scholars in an almost unprecedented way," says Allan E. Goodman, president and chief executive of the Institute of International Education, in New York. "It's hard to say there even is a higher-education system in Iraq anymore, with so many students and professors being killed and kidnapped on a daily basis."
For Mr. Jawad, each day seems to bring new horrors. Last month the body of one of his close friends, a professor at Al-Nahrain University College of Medicine, was found a few kilometers from the university with five bullets in his head and neck. The friend had returned hours earlier from a yearlong sabbatical in Australia and was expecting to see his newborn son for the first time...
In recent months, scores of professors throughout Iraq have encountered bullets sent through internal mail, death threats tacked to their office doors, or anonymous voices on the phone suggesting they not show up for work anymore. The situation has become so grave that the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research recently announced that university researchers may come to campuses just twice a week to reduce the risk of being attacked.