Friday, April 17, 2009

More On Gay Iraq

Gay City News shows why having independent gay papers are really important, with this great piece of journalism from Doug Ireland.

In addition to interviewing gay Congressman Polis, who recently returned from Iraq, Ireland speaks with Iraqi LGBT coordinator Ali Hili and gets new insights on life for gay Iraqis.
Ali Hili, the coordinator of Iraqi LGBT, who briefed Polis by telephone for his Iraqi trip, told Gay City News from London that "we have been able to confirm 63 more murders of gay people in Iraq just since December," bringing to nearly 600 the number of cases of LGBT Iraqis killed for their sexuality that his group has documented since the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of all Iraqi Shiite Muslims, issued a death-to-all-gays fatwa in 2005. But, Hili added, "Since there are parts of Iraq where we have no correspondents or members, we are convinced that the actual number of gays killed in these last months since December is much higher." At the same time, the BBC reported last week that according to Amnesty International "in the last few weeks 25 boys and men are reported to have been killed in Baghdad because they were, or perceived to be, gay." In an unusual move, Amnesty International wrote to the Iraqi President, Nouri al-Maliki, demanding "urgent and concerted action" by his government to stop the killings.

Hili told this reporter, "There is an intensive media campaign against homosexuals in Iraq at this time which we believe is inspired by the Ministry of the Interior, both in the daily newspapers and on nearly all the television stations. Their reports brand all gays as 'perverts' and try to portray us as terrorists who are undermining the moral fiber of Iraqi youth." Hili said the current homo-hating media campaign appears to have been sparked as an unfortunate reaction to an April 4 Reuters dispatch that reported: "Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, a local official said, and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality... The police source said the bodies of four gay men were unearthed in Sadr City on March 25, each bearing a sign reading 'pervert' in Arabic on their chests."
The whole article is well worth a read.

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