Earlier this week we brought you unconfirmed but very worrying reports that over 100 hundred Iraqis had been sentenced to death following charges of homosexuality, with the group IRAQI-LGBT claiming this was just the tip of a horrific and bloody iceberg, and that hundreds more cases of gay killings and anti-gay violence were the norm in Iraq since the regime change in 2003. Now, reports have emerged that six gay men have been murdered in Iraqi slums, and that clerics in the region are inciting this hatred at religious services.
The UK based Reuters news agency reported Saturday that, according to an unnamed police official in Iraq, two gay men were killed in the Sadr City slums in Baghdad (pictured) on Thursday 2nd of April, and that a further four were found on March 25th, the latter all bearing the Arabic for “pervert” on their naked and bloody chests.
The report also suggests that sermons damning homosexuality were read on the past two consecutive Friday prayer meetings in the region, with the Shiite cleric Sattar al-Battat and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr at the centre of these anti-gay pronouncements. “Such people have brought shame on Sadr city people… the blame falls on the security forces who do little to combat this phenomenon” said a spokesperson of Sattar al-Battat’s when discussing homosexuality with the press.
Closely affiliated with Moqtada al-Sadr are the Mehdi Army who were, at one stage, a force of “discipline” in the region, but now have largely had their hand in Sadr City made impotent as government forces took control of the area. It could be that this hunt for homosexuality is a direct response to the freezing of the Mehdi Army, and their attempting to expose homosexuality as evidence that, after their loss of control, “moral corruption” is becoming more widespread. The Army has denied it was involved in the killings, but firmly supports the clerics’ hard-line.
Being gay is illegal in Iraq, but since the regime change in 2003, it seems that LGBT Iraqis have suffered even more as many in the Middle East perceive homosexuality as a mainly Western trait that came along with the invasion of Iraq, and one that religious leaders in the area are zealous in warning against and pursuing the eradication of.
This is perhaps demonstrated most clearly by the words of one Sadr City official as they confirmed reports of the death of the two local men to the Reuters news agency, “Two young men were killed on Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor”. The two men’s bodies have not been claimed, perhaps because their family would feel ashamed to do so.
This is not an issue solely confined to Iraqi LGBTs anymore. Increasingly, men who adopt a Western style of dress and appearance, with shaved faces and short hair, are being labeled as homosexuals and in more affluent areas where coffee shops and other more Western style businesses have opened, many are branding those particular districts as gay hotspots.
It seems that, what were unconfirmed reports of killings in Iraq are slowly coming into view as a terrible reality. Take action now and sign this petition to urge the British and American administrations to do all they can to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iraqi’s be free from oppression and the threat of these brutal murders.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.