Welcome to Your Theocracy, Baghdad
I keep hearing from my neocon acquaintances that Ayatollah al-Sistani is a wise moderate who deserves a medal, or Time's Man of the Year award, for promoting compromise and getting elections done and generally being the George Washington of Iraq who's going to make everyone play nice and keep the country together.
Andrew Sullivan notices that the Ayatollah's version of equality is a little unequal:
The religious head of Iraq's Shiite population, Ayatollah Sistani, recently issued an edict calling for the brutal murder of all gay people in Iraq. "The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing," this spiritual leader declared. Shiite militias are apparently making good on the fatwa.
He cites this from the London Independent:
A number of public homophobic murders by the Badr militia have terrified Iraq's gay community. Last September, Hayder Faiek, a transsexual, was burnt to death by Badr militias in the main street of Baghdad's al-Karada district. In January, suspected militants shot another gay man in the back of the head.
Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad... Ali Hili, the co-ordinator of a group of exiled Iraqi gay men who monitor homophobic attacks inside Iraq, said the fatwa had instigated a "witch-hunt of lesbian and gay Iraqis, including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations". "Young Ahmed was a victim of poverty," he said. "He was summarily executed, apparently by fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police."
Because we are so desperate to declare victory and get out of Iraq, because we're so desperate for good news, we've turned over the reins to an Islamic theocracy that is more similar to Iran than anything else. Of course, in Iran, public executions of gays are also commonplace. Therefore we are in the odd position of proclaiming that democracy is spreading in the Middle East while homosexuals are burned to death in the streets. Maybe this isn't incongruous the Dr. Dobson crowd, but to Americans blessed with sanity, it's awful strange.