English language newspaper The National, based in Abu Dhabi, reports on the recent executions of gay men in Iraq.
“We see this [homosexuality] as a serious illness in the community that
has been spreading rapidly among the youth after it was brought in from
the outside by American soldiers. These are not the
habits of Iraq or our community and we must eliminate them…We had approval from the main Iraqi tribes here to liquidate those
[men] copying the ways of women. Our
aim is not to destabilise the security situation. Our aim is to help
stabilise society…Although the Mahdi Army is today limited and in fact stalled, we cannot
sit by with our arms crossed while these homosexuals flout the rules
and ethics that must be followed under the Islamic religion. These homosexuals think that Iraq is changing and becoming a
non-Muslim, liberal society but our tribal and religious customs allow
us to punish them in the most severe way."
They also speak with Hayder al Mousawi, an imam at the Hussein mosque in the Karada neighbourhood of Baghdad: “The truth is that the homosexual brings shame on them so how can God
be angry with them for killing the homosexual? On the
contrary, in killing the homosexual they are carrying out God’s will.”
And a doctor at Al Shaab hospital, Taher Mustafa, tells the paper that he knows of at least three men brought in recently that he thinks were killed because they were gay: “We had bodies in, they were of men between 17 and 25 years old and they’d either been shot or burnt to death. It’s good that people are beginning to get freedoms they’ve been
deprived of for a long time, but the youth here have to understand that
they are living in a society that is governed by traditions and
religious customs, and that still has militias to enforce them. It is unacceptable that people are murdered in the streets for any
reason, or for these gangs to behave as if they are the law,. As the national security system gets stronger, this will stop.”
They also speak with a 23-year-old gay Iraqi national who says he has received anonymous phone calls with threats to kill him: “It is our right to live as we see fit and it is the responsibility of
the Iraqi government to protect us and that right, as citizens. Just
because we are not practising Muslims does not mean that we can be
treated as if we are not human beings. We all know homosexuals are killed here. They get murdered
by firing squads, but only after they’ve been tortured. There’s a large
waste dump in al Shaab and that’s where the bodies are left.”
It was recently reported that militias were using a painful, unprecedented form of anal glue torture to kill gay men.
Today, NBC News reported on the recent state of crisis for gays in Iraq.
Last week, Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank, and Jared Polis sent a letter to Christopher Hill, the recently-confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, urging him to prioritize the investigations of the alleged killings. You can read a PDF of the letter HERE.
Iraqi 'Executioner' Defends Killing of Gay Men [the national]