Six hours. You can get a lot done in that time if you have access to the internet. Pay your bills, do some online shopping, find a dozen or so gay Iraqis to murder…
No wonder Abu Hamizi, aged twenty-two, a computer science graduate from Iraq, has made somewhat of a career out of tracking down gay Iraqis to be tortured and killed, as the Guardian Observer is reporting.
Daily, Hamizi sits trawling through gay chat rooms so that his friends in a Sadr city militia can “find those people who are destroying Islam” and stop them. When asked if this means killing them, he admits, yes, sometimes.
The deputy leader of one militia thought to be responsible for the murder of over 130 gay men this year alone, told the Observer:
“Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts… we make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God’s forgiveness before they are killed”.
And how are they killed? As the Guardian reports, it’s as brutally and inhumanely as possible. One Iraqi mother woke to find her son’s blood smeared over her door and a note telling her where to find his body: it had been mutilated, the genitals removed and his anus filled with glue.
“I will carry this image with me until my dying day,” she said.
What are the police in Iraq doing about these killings? Not much. They attribute the violence to sectarian rumblings rather than anti-gay attacks, even in the face of militia groups that claim they are taking at least two people a day to be interrogated for being “puppies” – a gay slur in Iraq.
It is even thought that certain elements of the police are in fact co-operating with militias as they try to cleanse Iraqi society of its so-called “impure” elements. This is an allegation that the Iraqi government are quick to deny, but the rumors persist, and just how much control the government has in Baghdad’s slums remains to be seen.
Under Saddam Hussein gay Iraqis enjoyed relative freedoms. With the fall of Hussein in 2003 however, the American invasion prompted several militias to begin “cleansing” their nation in the chaos that ensued, in order to wash away the impurities that the West supposedly brought with them.
It is believed that retaliation against Westernization is one of the key driving forces behind the gay killings, because, tellingly, it is those who look Westernized, who wear their hair in certain styles or who have shaved their faces, or even dress in a certain way, that were prime targets in the beginning.
This is not so now. With this report from the Guardian Observer, a new wave of violence has been revealed; militias are finding gay Iraqis in their homes, in the streets, wherever they might be, and are taking them away to be maimed and tortured, sometimes killed.
The question must be asked, with the malitias new, systematic approach of seeking out its victims, has the murder and torture of gay Iraqis now progressed to genocide?
At the very least, the pogrom against gay Iraqis has one blogger asking, “This is the freedom young Americans died for? And American tax-payers were bankrupted for?”
How Can I Help Gay Iraqis?
Sign this Care2 petition urging President Obama to continue to apply pressure on the Iraqi government over the human rights violations Iraq’s gay citizens face.
Read the rest of Care2′s coverage on the emerging human rights abuses gay Iraqis face:
“A Spreading Campaign of Torture and Murder” Against Gay Iraqis
Iraq LGBT Crisis Update: Profiling the Worsening Situation
Violence Against Iraqi LGBTs Update
Sexual Cleansing In Iraq Progresses To Horrific Anal Torture
Rep. Jared Polis Tours Iraq With Gay Issues Firmly In Mind
Iraq Death Penalty For Being LGBT — Take Action!