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CNN Looks at the Executions of Gays by ISIS, Interviews Gay Couple Who Fled Syria: VIDEO

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CNN's Arwa Damon reports on the series of videos in recent weeks of allegedly gay men being thrown from buildings and stoned to death by ISIS militants while crowds of villagers looks on, and what it means for gay men under threat in Syria and Iraq.

CNN also talks to Sami and his partner, who fled to Istanbul from Syria after someone tried to run them over with a car. They were subsequently threatened by someone on a phone call:

"There was a man that was, first he is saying this time you could have make it and you survived. But the next time you will not."

But even their refuge in Istanbul was threatened. When the ISIS video of the gay killings emerged, one of their fellow housemates made remarks, Sami says:

"He made a very absurd joke about, he was so amused, and he had so much fun watching homosexuals. And he say now gay men can fly."

Watch (note: portion of video repeats after 3:30) the disturbing interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

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ISIS Militants Reportedly Execute Another Man Accused Of Being Gay

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ISIS extremists based in Syria have killed another purportedly gay man by throwing him from the roof of a building and subsequently stoning him after he survived the drop, UK's Independent reports. A sizable crowd gathered gathered at at the ground level of the building in al-Tabaqa. The unnamed man is thought to have been aged 25-30 and was blindfolded before his execution. Though ISIS-aligned fighters claimed to have carried out this killing and a number of others recently in accordance with ISIS’s own penal code which forbids homosexuality, it is important to note that the organization’s use of rhetoric to justify brutality against those who oppose the organization.

As The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission explained last year after a savage attack on a man in Iraq, ISIS is not above accusing people of sodomy if it means being able to justify being able to silence them by death:

“At this time, to publicly call Iraqi men “gay” can only do harm. If the men did not identify as gay, the allegation is inaccurate and obscures the Islamic State’s motivation for publicly labeling them as such.

[O]ne cannot assume that the executions were for sodomy solely on the basis of information from the Islamic State. Without evidentiary basis or independent confirmation, this sweeping allegation could be applied to anyone the Islamic State seeks to discredit—including human rights activists and anyone opposed to the Islamic State. Accusing opponents of homosexuality is a tried and true tool used to discredit political adversaries throughout the world.”


ISIS Stones Two 'Gay' Men To Death In Syria

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ISIS has posted photos of militants throwing a man reported to be gay from a roof and stoning him to death, reports the Straits Times.

Syria Iraq borderLast month, ISIS stoned to death two men accused of homosexuality. Two recent publications have reported that LGBT people in Iraq are experiencing levels of persecution that puts many at imminent risk of death.

As previously reported, it is unclear whether the individuals ISIS has accused of homosexuality do in fact identify as gay. Accusing individuals of homosexuality has served as a pretext for ISIS to silence its opposition.

The latest attack took place yesterday on the border between Iraq and Syria.

A statement accompanying the photos read:

"The Islamic court in Wilayet al-Furat [an area on the Syrian-Iraqi border] decided that a man who has practised sodomy must be thrown off the highest point in the city, and then stoned to death.”


ISIS Accuses Two Men Of Homosexuality As Excuse To Execute Them

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 1.26.26 PMThe Islamic State continues its swath of executions this week as the group accused two men of homosexuality in Syria and subsequently executed them reports Pink NewsOne of the men, a 20-year-old man, died in Mayadeen, which is located in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq. ISIS claims it found videos on the man's cellphone of him committing "Indecent acts," with another male. ISIS also executed an 18-year-old man for similar reasons in Deir Ezzor this week as well. ISIS stoned both men to death for their supposed transgressions.

Social media activists say that the men were opponents of ISIS, and that the militant group accused the two men of homosexuality as a pretext to permanently silence them. The Washington Blade reports that LGBT people living under ISIS control in Iraq and the Middle East are essentially No. 1 targets for execution; with threats of being turned in by friends and family, many LGBT Iraqis are prisoners in their own homes and selves, as any indication of homosexual relations means certain death. As ISIS continues to gain supporters from around the world, the conditions of LGBT people in the region continue to worsen.


President Obama Comments on ISIL Strikes Within Syria: VIDEO

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On Tuesday morning before flying to the United Nations to meet with world leaders including prime minister Abadi of Iraq, President Obama delivered a statement on the strikes begun last night against Islamic State (ISIL) targets within Syria, taken out by the U.S. and an Arab coalition including Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Said Obama:

"America is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these nations on behalf of our common security. The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone. Above all, the people and governments of the Middle East are rejecting Isil, and standing up for the peace and security that the people of the region and the world deserve."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Chelsea Manning Breaks Silence, Speaks Out On ISIS

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Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the U.S. intelligence analyst who made headlines in 2013 after leaking thousands of classified documents depicting abuse and torture being carried out by U.S. soldiers to WikiLeaks, recently took to The Guardian to share her thoughts on how the American military could best deal with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, colloquially known as ISIL or ISIS. They key to dismantling the jihadist group, Manning says, is to let its leaders prove how unsustainable its hypothetical caliphate would be in reality.

“Let Isis succeed in setting up a failed ‘state’ – in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern,” she reasons. “This might begin to discredit the leadership and ideology of Isis for good.”

Manning also points out that the U.S. isn’t doing enough to combat ISIS’s well documented and effective use of social media to spread its propagandistic messages. In addition to a physical presence within Iraq and Syria, she says the U.S. needs to “counter [ISIS’s] narrative” that the organization uses to recruit youth fighters into its ranks.

Reactions to Manning’s piece have been mixed, but generally positive. Ben Kesling, a marine Corps veteran and Wall Street Journal reporter, took issue with Manning’s logic considering her rank at the time of her dishonorable discharge.

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