A rising wave of anti-gay sentiment
continues to engulf the Iraqi city of Baghdad. The AFP is reporting
that a previously unknown anti-gay group bent on killing gays has
launched a new campaign of terror.
The group, called Brigades of the
Righteous, has posted signs around the Baghdad slum of Sadr City
naming alleged gays and threatening to kill them
“We will punish you, perverts,” the
posters say. Those on the list have reportedly gone into hiding.
Earlier this month, an Iraqi police
official said as many as six gay men had been killed after religious
clerics condemned being gay. Shiite cleric Sattar al-Battat has
repeatedly condemned being gay during prayers, saying Islam prohibits
The Reuters news agency reported
that the men were discovered dead, each marked “pervert” on their
Men who adopt the more Western values
of short hair and a clean-shaven face are often accused of being gay
in the Middle East.
“This [homosexuality] has spread
because of the absence of the Mehdi Army, the spread of sexual films
and satellite television and a lack of government surveillance,”
the office's of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Gharawi, a Shiite cleric, told the
Ali Hili, of Iraqi LGBT, gave gay
City News a grim assessment of the situation. According to
Hili, the group has confirmed more than 23 murders of gay people in
Iraq since December.
Openly gay Congressman Jared Polis, who
recently toured Iraq, has called upon the State Department to act.
“We asked the embassy and the State
Department to investigate the reports of killings of gay men, and
turned over to the charge d'affaires the names and phone numbers of
all the gay Iraqi contacts we had and a letter detailing our
concerns,” Polis said.
Polis told the paper that the letter
included allegations that the Iraqi government was involved in the
“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,” Hili said. “Their reports
brand all gays as 'perverts' and try to portray us as terrorists who
are undermining the moral fiber of Iraqi youth.”