Since the Invasion in 2003, at least 680 homosexual Iraqis have been murdered in Iraq, with at least 70 of these in the past five months. The numbers are likely under-reported, especially with homosexual women, where seven have been declared as brutally murdered just this year. (1) WARNING: these pictures are graphic and not for young viewers.
Interestingly, a fact that shocked me, homosexuality was not criminalized under Sadam Hussein's reign. In the 1960's and 1970's, homosexuality was accepted in Iraq, and there was outspread gay scene there. The maleficent attitudes towards homosexuality began after the Invasion.
Many heterosexual males, with a one-track agenda to purge Iraqof the homosexuals once and for all, hunt Internet chat rooms linked to gay websites daily. Often they spend upwards of 6 to 8 hours at a time finding people who are considered to be destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation that was centuries in the making. For whatever reason, murdering someone is acceptable, but being gay is not.
The violence against Iraqi gays is a key test of the government's ability to protect vulnerable minority groups after the Americans have gone. (2)
The Iraqi police have now jumped into the act of "moral policing". They have now taken it upon themselves to enforce classic Islamic tactics of policing moral boundaries.
Iraqi government officials clearly state they don't condone the gay murders.
It is risky to look the part of a gay male in Sadr city, where at least 25 gay males have turned up dead, perverse acts carried out on their corpses, like glued anuses, "pervert" in Arabic carved into their chests, and their genitals ripped off.
It is common for gay Iraqi males to wear light makeup to lighten their skin, which purportedly attracts other gay males. They pierce their ears, a taboo in Iraq if you are male. They take on feminine versions of their names, like going from Basim to Basima. Their chests are shaved. Some even had taken estrogen to develop small breasts.
Technically gays can only be arrested if they are "caught in the act".
In 2005, the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed.” He added, “The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” The language has since been removed from his Web site. The city officials in Sadr City downplay their role in the killings, stating that it was likely that the gays died of honor killings by the hands of their relatives. (3)
Oddly, when captured by gunmen, gays such as Kamal and Rami (4)face unbelievable rape and torture. The odd thing is the fact that the gunmen are trying to eradicate the gays from existence, yet they themselves commit homosexual acts by raping the gay men repeatedly. Kamal and Rami, only teenagers at the time of their capture in 2005, are still together, but are a lot less conspicuous about their relationship.
It's important to note that I didn't write this story because of personal gay pride (I'm "happily" heterosexual), because of gay activism (I'm against homosexuality), or because I enjoy seeing gay pride spread to ends of the earth (I usually turn off the TV!). Rather, it's the larger picture that attracted me to this story.Even if you're gay, or pro-choice, or a liberal, murder shouldn't be condoned in any situation. Murder, by most religions, is simply not acceptable. It is trumped as the worst sin, no matter if another person has gravely sinned and needs to be punished. However, people have the right to exercise what they believe in their own lives, even if it differs from you. The important thing is they don't impeded upon another person's freedoms, force their beliefs down another person's throat, or commit an illegal act or act against another person. The last could be argued here, as many people in the Middle East are seeing homosexuality as being illegal. That was the basis of the story. However, again,it should never be condoned to kill another person because of your beliefs.
I do support the death penalty...but that's the subject of another story...
Copyright Asher Kade 2009