The Gay Murders In Iraq
As we celebrate the progress on gay rights in Vermont and Iowa and Washington, DC, we must acknowledge the grisly backsliding on gay rights in Iraq.
The relative freedom of a newly democratic Iraq and the recent improvement in security have allowed a gay subculture to flourish here. The response has been swift and deadly.
In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.
“Three of my closest friends have been killed during the past two weeks alone,” said Basim, 23, a hairdresser. “They had been planning to go to a cafe away from Sadr City because we don’t feel safe here, but they killed them on the way. I had planned to go with them, but fortunately I didn’t.” [...]
“Homosexuality is against the law,” said Lt. Muthana Shaad, at a police station in the Karada district, a neighborhood that has become popular with gay men. “And it’s disgusting.”
For the past four months, he said, officers have been engaged in a “campaign to clean up the streets and get the beggars and homosexuals off them.”
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for the death of gays and lesbians as far back as 2005. Homosexuality generally is frowned upon in Iraqi society, which has grown more religious and more conservative since we invaded. But as long as 140,000 Americans risk their lives to protect Iraqis and provide for their security, I can't see how we can stay silent about the indiscriminate murder of an entire class of citizens.