Creative Destruction

August 10, 2006

Gays in Iraq Targeted For Murder By Insurgents And Government

Filed under: Human Rights,Iraq — Ampersand @ 12:33 am

From the UK newspaper The Observer:

Hardline Islamic insurgent groups in Iraq are targeting a new type of victim with the full protection of Iraqi law, The Observer can reveal. The country is seeing a sudden escalation of brutal attacks on what are being called the ‘immorals’ – homosexual men and children as young as 11 who have been forced into same-sex prostitution.

There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused. The threat has led to a rapid increase in the numbers of Iraqi homosexuals now seeking asylum in the UK because it has become impossible for them to live safely in their own country.[...]

Graphic photos obtained from Baghdad sources too frightened to identify themselves as having known a gay man, and seen by the Observer, show other gay Iraqis who have been executed. One shows two men, suspected of having a relationship, blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs – guns at the ready behind their heads – awaiting execution. Another picture captured on a mobile phone shows a gay man being beaten to death. Yet another shows a corpse being dragged through the streets after his execution.

But it’s not just the insurgent groups killing off gays. It’s also our good friends and allies, the Iraqi government.

One photograph is of the mutilated, burnt body of 38-year-old Karar Oda from Sadr City. He was kidnapped by the Badr Brigade in mid-June. They work with the Ministry of Interior and are the informal armed wing of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who make up the largest Shia bloc in the Iraq parliament. Oda’s family were given an arrest warrant signed by the Ministry of Interior which said their son deserved to be arrested and killed for immorality as a homosexual. His body was found ten days later.

Don’t get me wrong — queers were horribly abused under Saddam. That we are able to take a situation that bad and (if this Observer report is correct) make it worse is astonishing. At the very least, the U.S. (and the U.K.) should be offering asylum and citizenship to gay Iraqis who want (or, rather, need) to flee here.

7 Comments »

  1. Well, I think it is inappropriate to call gay males “queers.” I know my brother does not like being called that and he is gay.

    As for the article itself, on the one hand I am surprised anyone outside of Iraq bothered to cover the issue. The issue of homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality, turns a lot of people off. They would rather ignore it and pretend the violence does not happen. On the other hand, I am surprised it took this long for people to acknowledge men and boys are specifically being targeted. It is a fairly well known fact that in most Muslim countries there are strict laws against male homosexuality with the penalty usually being death. I fail to believe anyone associated with human rights groups was unaware of the problem, so I am curious as to why there is a sudden interest in it.

    As for the comment about the US offering amnesty for gay men and boy prostitutes, that will not happen. Not only are they the wrong gender, but the US has no political reason to help them at all. We are not in the habit of helping people because it is the right thing to do. There must be some potential gain for the US to offer them assistance let alone amnesty. And considering that part of the world’s views about homosexuality, any assistance offered may only make the situation far worse.

    Comment by toysoldier — August 10, 2006 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  2. Well, I think it is inappropriate to call gay males “queers.” I know my brother does not like being called that and he is gay.

    I’m not sure if Amp is doing that, as the word “queer” is something that is being reclaimed (I wouldn’t insist on calling anyone queer who didn’t like it, however), that is, my understanding of the reclaimed version is that it is a broad term used to define people with out-of-mainstream (but morally legitimate) sexual preferences.

    As for the comment about the US offering amnesty for gay men and boy prostitutes, that will not happen. Not only are they the wrong gender, but the US has no political reason to help them at all. We are not in the habit of helping people because it is the right thing to do.

    I share some of that scepticism, but I hope you are wrong, as in “Let us hope that right makes might…”.

    Comment by Tuomas — August 10, 2006 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  3. Unfortunately the level of overt hatred for homosexuality in the Arab world (coupled, of course, with the usual covert tolerance under the right social conditions) makes asylum impractical.

    Comment by Robert — August 10, 2006 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  4. I’m not following you, Robert. Could you explain why? Surely many people we offer asylum to is hated where they’ve come from.

    Toysoldier, in the crowds I run in, “queer” is not used to be an insult.

    Comment by Ampersand — August 10, 2006 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  5. Arab population: 1 billion. (Give or take.)
    Number of gays in that population: I dunno, maybe 20 million to 100 million.
    Number of gay Arabs we can give asylum too: way less than that

    We can give asylum to people who are hated when they’re hated because they belong to some small group or another, or because of some specific action (“your father worked for the despicable Shah!”). Can’t do it when it’s 9 digits worth of people.

    Comment by Robert — August 10, 2006 @ 6:23 pm | Reply

  6. i used to live in Basrah my birth place and shurely i would to go there for the rest of my life one day , when i was very young my family had to move from place to another , one of those places was just outside of Basrah center , our neighbours had about four young brother their ages arrange from 22 – 10 , everyone of them had a boyfriend and their boyfriend way older some block some brown , they were so beautiful young men , i wish i can go back in time i would had the pleasure of my time , i always think about them specialy when i found out i`m gay myself in lator years and honesly Basrah city boys are the most beautiful boys on earth and the hottest ever .

    Comment by frank — October 19, 2008 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  7. i wish that iraq my homeland will one day be so talorant about gays , it`s out of any human being contol , i personaly i love boys and men alike , and i wish all iraqi men experience this beautiful experience to try to have sex with men the best feeling human can ever experience , and i wish guys from thar Basrah family stil having fun with men , it`s just greatr

    Comment by frank — October 19, 2008 @ 2:20 pm | Reply


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