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Massive Assault on Gays Hits Kenya; Mobs Call for Death by Fire


Kenya's newspaper The Daily Nation is reporting that police saved three men suspected of being gay from "hundreds of angry youth baying for their blood" on Friday:

Kenya2  "Subsequently, a same-sex marriage that was planned to take place in the coastal town failed to take off as two men who announced the wedding went into hiding. Police were forced to intervene to save the three men who residents had accused of being 'notorious gays' who were behind the spread of the practice in the town. Two men suspected of being a couple by residents were flushed out of their apartment within the town and police found wedding rings on their fingers. Police also dramatically rescued a another man and managed to rush him to Mtwapa police post."

Kenya3 The mobs and arrests appear to be inspired by a group of Kenyan clerics who have called on "the government to vet all nightclubs in the town and close down those found promoting to gay activities."


The clerics have said they are ready to shed their blood to rid the area of gays. Said Bishop Laurence Chai, the leader of Operation Gays Out: "We thank God for saving this town from being turned to Sodom and Gomorra of this era as we may be on verge of being doomed had this criminals managed to conduct their evil exercise within our neighbourhood."

Chai slammed the planned wedding at a news conference on Thursday:

Chai "Some gay couples from Western countries are among dozens of guests expected to witness the marriage. News of the wedding has rattled religious leaders — both Muslim and Christian — who have united in their vow to stop it “at all costs”.

Speaking after a joint meeting on Thursday, religious leaders condemned the planned wedding. Furious clerics from the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) met at Masjid Answar Sunna Mosque, Mtwapa and cursed the couple and the organisers of the unconstitutional marriage.

CIPK Kikambala region coordinator Sheikh Ali Hussein (above, right) and Kilifi's NCCK representative Bishop Lawrence Chai (above, left) said they had given the government seven days to close down night clubs they accused of fuelling homosexuality in the town.

The clerics claimed that a large number of youths were being recruited into gay clubs and warned that “God is about to punish the fastest growing town in Coast region”.

“Come night, come day, we shall not allow that marriage to be conducted in this town tomorrow (Friday). We shall stand firm to flush out gays who throng this town every weekend from all corners of this country,’’ the religious leaders said in a statement after their meeting.

All this activity appears to be inspired by a clause in Kenya's draft constitution (since removed) that could have allowed for same-sex marriage.

(images via The Daily Nation)

Kenya Meanwhile, Reuters has a varying report, saying that police arrested several people at a gay wedding on the Indian Ocean coast on Friday and not mentioning the other activities:

"Homosexuality is illegal in the east African country. The wedding between two men had been scheduled to take place at a private villa in the beach resort of Kikambala. George Matundura, a senior police commander, said five people had been arrested after officers stormed the address. They would appear in court soon, he added...Residents angered by the planned nuptials demonstrated outside the police station where the five suspects were taken."

It's unclear whether the gays saved by police mentioned in the Nation piece are in any way related to the wedding arrests mentioned in the Reuters story. Still, one thing is clear and that is that gays are in grave danger in Kenya right now.

Shouted one protester: "This is not allowed and these people, their behaviour is all the same. They need to be burned."

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  1. Further evidence that the religious far right has more in common with fundamental Islam than they would care to admit.

    Posted by: John | Feb 12, 2010 9:37:38 AM


    Posted by: Robert | Feb 12, 2010 10:04:42 AM

  3. good reason to resent the effect of church and religion.

    Posted by: vmvgbui | Feb 12, 2010 10:05:49 AM

  4. Robert: We have a winner. Racism, stupidity, and ignorance all in one comment!

    Posted by: Ted | Feb 12, 2010 10:20:50 AM

  5. While i dont exactly follow Roberts line i dont and wont give aid to African countries or any country that has anti gay laws and such anti gay public opinion until they change.
    I prefer to give to local charities and causes.

    Posted by: rovex | Feb 12, 2010 10:29:50 AM

  6. I wish the racists would stop calling the people "savages" so that we could describe their behavior as "savage," which would not be racist, simply accurate.

    Bigotry is referring to an entire group of people with a derogatory term. It is how the government and the people of Kenya are behaving toward gays.

    It is not racist to call the behavior of mobs "savage" when they call for burning people alive.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Feb 12, 2010 10:32:17 AM


    Posted by: massgrv | Feb 12, 2010 10:37:07 AM

  8. Stories like this make me feel a variety of emotions at once. I feel anger toward the deeply hypocritical influence of religion, anger toward the Kenyan people for allowing themselves to be manipulated in this way, sadness and fear for the gay or lesbian people who are most certainly in grave danger for no reason. Most of all, though, I feel a sense of powerlessness. Sure, I could write my congresslesbian and my senator about it. But my congressional representatives are Tammy Baldwin and Russ Feingold... they're already on our side. And we all know what our government's response will be... a big fat lot of nothing.

    I must say that savage behavior like this is present in all cultures and all socioeconomic climates... and should be condemned strenuously and punished severely in each instance. Foreign aid shouldn't be revoked capriciously or due to the idiotic influences of a small number of people... but when there are huge mobs roaming around looking for gays to burn at the stake, that just can't stand.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Feb 12, 2010 10:53:23 AM

  9. Ted, the time for “Mr. Nice Gay” has expired. If somebody smacks you, smack them right back. You can't sit around and wait for the world to grow into a place of tolerance. Trust me, you and I both will be cold in the ground long before such glory days materialize.

    Furthermore, since you brought up ignorance let's delve into the subject a little deeper. Much of the anti-gay sentiment that's rampant within Sub-Saharan Africa is Biblically inspired. Personally, I find it rather ironic that Africans utilize the same book that once justified their capture and enslavement to condemn another group of people.

    With that being said, the proceeding Biblical passages were once utilized by slave traders and New World plantation owners alike to justify the enslavement and cruel treatment of their fellow human beings.. For starters, a father can sell his daughter into slavery (Exodus 21:7). The Bible also indicates that beating slaves is acceptable as long as they don't die from the injuries sustained (Exodus 21:20-21). Of course, most translations of the Bible have substituted the world servant in lieu of slave for reasons I'm sure I don't have to explain. Nonetheless, people from various Sub-Saharan African nations (Uganda, Malawi, Kenya, etc.) cling to the Bible in an effort to justify the imprisonment and even death of their gay and lesbian neighbors.

    Consequently, you'll have to pardon my intolerance for the “stupidity” and “ignorance” displayed by the Kenyan mob whom clearly behaved like archaic, backwoods, barbarians.

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 12, 2010 11:13:10 AM

  10. Well. Cross Kenya off the list of places where I will spend my tourist dollar.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 12, 2010 11:17:29 AM

  11. If anyone thinks that the religious right in THIS country would be doing EXACTLY the same thing if they could get away with it, they are FOOLS.

    Most of this activity in Africa is being fueled and fanned by AMERICAN evangelical fundamentalist who, unable to live their dreams here, export their extreme homophobia to more receptive countries and cultures.

    This is why it drives me insane when people, including gay people, act as if the rabidly anti-gay religious right is just another, and equally valuable, point of view in the discussion about gay rights.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 12, 2010 11:17:33 AM

  12. Make that "...WOULDN'T be doing the same thing...".

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Feb 12, 2010 11:18:33 AM

  13. ROBERT, you are in violation of Towleroad comment policies. Your use of a racial slur and hateful rhetoric has been reported to Andy.

    Posted by: No Racist Flame Bombers Please | Feb 12, 2010 11:24:42 AM

  14. Robert, you mocked people dying of famine and advocated abandoning all aid and travel to most of a continent because of a riot in one country and an unpassed bill in another? And then you defended yourself? Well, racism doesn't usually come with self-reflection, so I guess no one should be surprised.

    Posted by: Ted | Feb 12, 2010 11:28:06 AM

  15. A Bishop?
    The Council of Imams and Preachers?
    The National Council of Churches?

    What do these people have in common with Christ, in whom they supposedly believe?
    They will all burn in Hell, if there is such a place.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Feb 12, 2010 11:28:43 AM

  16. Please, people: Hate Christianity, Islam and ignorance, not Christians, Muslims, and ignorant people. Hating the people who hate you instantly makes you as credible as they are.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Feb 12, 2010 11:29:47 AM

  17. Robert,

    You are a complete and utter racist. Skip your crappy attempts to justify your racism.

    The reality is that violent homophobia exists all over the world:

    1) Lawrence King was a 15 year old child butchered in his middle class school in California.

    2) Michael Sandy was chased to his death in New Jersey.

    3) Lithuania passed anti-gay legislation banning all "pro" gay literature and film.

    3) Lithuania has seen repeated violent anti-gay mob action at every attempt at a gay pride parade.

    4) The U.K. reports that violent homophobic attacks are on the rise.

    5) Anti-gay violence claimed the lives of gay men in the U.K. in the last two years.

    6) In Toronto, a gay man was deliberately run down with a car.

    7) Serbia cancelled its gay pride parade because its police could not guarantee the safety of participants from violent, anti-gay nationalists.

    8) Poland's president and several other figures have publicly denounced gays and used anti-gay propaganda to fuel their own political power.

    People like you don't give a damn about gays in Africa. If you did, you would show concern for the victims of homophobia instead spouting generalized hatred for a whole continent of 1 billion people who do not all act alike or think alike.

    It's terribly convenient of you to forget how much violent homophobia exists in the U.S. and how it was only with the last decade that homosexuality was officially decriminalized in the U.S.!

    You still live in a country where gays are legally second class citizens. It's nice of you to ignore the constant messages that Republicans push out that describe people like you as subhumans, child-rapists, etc.

    Posted by: Curt | Feb 12, 2010 11:36:11 AM

  18. TampaZeke, thanks for your insight, the role of exported evangelism is something worth reflecting upon.

    Ted, your missing the point. Oh, it's just one little riot, give Kenya a collective pass. Although most Kenyans did not participate in this "gay witch hunt" I am willing to bet my right arm that most Kenyans would have no objections to gay and lesbians being subjected to the death penalty.

    Furthermore, I stand by my call for sanctions. Nations that receive international aid should be required to treat all of their citizens with dignity. Clearly, that's not happening for the gay and lesbian people of Kenya. Economic pressure can go along way toward extending human rights around the world.

    By the way, gays residing within Kenya can receive up to 14 years in prison for sleeping with the one they love. Riot or no riot, that's unacceptable and needs to change.

    Quite frankly, I don't know where your charges of racism are stemming from (Nor do I care to defend myself from such allegations considering I don't know you or particularly care to). I suppose you are an overly sensitive liberal.

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 12, 2010 12:04:33 PM

  19. ROBERT: Calling people living in Kenya and Uganda "spear chuckers"? Not a bit racist?

    Posted by: JTlvr | Feb 12, 2010 12:16:31 PM

  20. You know, there isn't a month that goes by where I don't hear some stranger - tourist, bus passenger - or acquaintance - business contact - make derogatory remarks about gays here in "liberal" California. Or criticize the government that banned same-sex marriage for being too pro-gay. Some even slyly suggest that it should be criminalized again with little gems like "I don't need to see that" and "there ought to be law." Unfortunately, most of them do not realize that there was a law not so long ago. Lawrence was decided in 2003.

    It comes from Asians, Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks. It comes from everybody. They feel they can say outrageous things in front of me because there's no way I could be gay. This is what people do when they think they can get away from it. This is what people living outside of ghettos like West Hollywood and Castro have to deal with on a daily basis. And it is not limited to Kenya or Uganda. It is deeply ingrained and systemic across all racial and most national boundaries.

    Posted by: John | Feb 12, 2010 12:20:37 PM

  21. Robert, I am not missing the point. What happened is terrible. I am specifically attacking your advocacy of refusing to aid all of Africa, thus encouraging more starvation, disease and death. Your reference to them as stupid, spear-chucking barbarians is racist. You don't seem to have any knowledge of Africa beyond the homophobia reported on gay blogs. I am not an overly sensitive liberal, just a liberal who happens to believe that encouraging the deaths of people who are homophobic is just as evil as anyone encouraging my death.

    Posted by: Ted | Feb 12, 2010 12:25:04 PM

  22. Robert,

    Those savage lynch mobs in Kenya, Uganda, Jamaica remind me of the savage lynch mobs that used to gather in the United States (and not just the South). In both cases, blacks were/are the targets. (of course, other groups had to deal with savage lynch also: Irish-Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Chinese-Americans, Gay Americans)

    You give a country/society 80 years of a large properous middle-class with increasing higher education for its children, and suddenly that society becomes tolerant of gay people. Yep, it may be a while before we see that kind of tolerance in African contries. And African Gays will suffer.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 12, 2010 12:40:39 PM

  23. Please keep your dialog civilized - comments like that about the "spear chuckers" and "swollen bellies" will not be tolerated here.

    Posted by: Andy Towle | Feb 12, 2010 1:07:17 PM

  24. Kurt:

    I am not on trial here...Kenya is. The leadership of Kenya is now within a position to prove me wrong. Their voices can condemn the actions of this mob. The leadership can also initiate efforts to decriminalize homosexuality. Personally, I will be the first to praise the government of Kenya if such steps are taken.

    On another note, I care very much about gay and lesbian Africans forced to live in fear. Hopefully, such individuals will be able to seek asylum in places like the United States, Canada, Australia, etc. Better yet, perhaps the international community can take a fierce stance against homophobia on a global scale. After all, no one should be driven from their home because of fear.

    Indeed, homophobia is alive and well inside the United States. There are also remaining legal hurdles here. Yet, as a gay man I feel blessed to be living within this country rather than Kenya, Saudi Arabia, or Yemen for that matter.

    On a related note, I don't care how people feel about homosexuality. For all I care, they can curse my name under their breath and complain to their friends about that “perverted faggot” they saw walking down the street. However, I should have the same legal rights as everyone else including safety and the right to marry the one I love. I also feel these universal rights belong to all citizens of the world including Kenyans.

    Derrick from Philly, unfortunately, education does not always fix things. For instance, the death penalty is still on the books for gays and lesbians within the United Arab Emirates (home of Dubai with it's world renowned ultra-modern skyline and man-made islands shaped like palm trees). Education can definitely help. However, what about the present? It sickens me and makes me want to cry that so many people around the world are brutalized simply because they want to share a life with someone of their own gender.

    JTlvr and Ted, my comment is only racist if that's how you choose to interpret it. In reality my comment was chastising the primitive nature required for someone to feel it's ok to burn someone alive.

    Again, I stand by my call for international sanctions. I could have suggested the idea a little more tactfully. However, that's not who I am. Perhaps someone from the Kenyan mob will stumble across Towelroad and read my words and get a feel of what it's like to be condemned.

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 12, 2010 1:17:03 PM

  25. Okay, someone made a racist comment, so now it's about calling people racist and saying that the united states is just as bad as kenya with regard to gay rights...or anywhere where are systematically rounded up and persecuted, tortured, murdered for being gay because it's illegal in those countries...just like in the u.s., huh? Tell me, those who believe this, do you ever look in the mirror and think, "goodness, I'm a stupid person"? And afterward, just slap yourself as hard as you can? These fairytales belong on college campuses in joke departments. Yeah...garbage in, garbage out.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 12, 2010 1:43:44 PM

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