As it does in most of the middle east. Notice please that the only vibrant and thriving cultures in this part of the world belong to the non-theocratic states of Turkey and Israel.
The busy, shop-lined streets in the up-market neighborhood of Mansour look friendly enough, but step inside the narrow doorway of any liquor store and the mood darkens.
Talk turns to the threats, and sometimes the grenades, being hurled at owners of such stores, who find themselves on the wrong side of hard-core Islamists reveling in the post-Saddam Hussein power vacuum.
It is an irony of the dictator's fall that the new freedoms unleashed are spawning new forms of repression.
Nowhere is that more evident than at the everyday level of small stores selling alcohol and cinemas showing racy movies, which have been targeted by Shiite Muslim radicals hoping to bring Islamic rule to Iraq.
"This is not freedom. This is the opposite of freedom, hating something and wanting to close it down," said Wamidh Sabah Yaldow, standing in his corner liquor store.
Read it all here to understand the threat posed.