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US Military Stands Down as Gay Iraqis Killed

In International politics, Iraq War, US Politics on June 8, 2006 at 9:01 pm

From today’s Washington Blade story, “US Military Acknowledges Iraq Anti-Gay Killings:”

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, when we’re in a fledgling time like this, to go in and say, ‘Here’s these issues that are going to repel 80 percent of the population and this is what we want to inflict on you,'” he said. “We’re trying not to get into too many values judgment type issues and just do the right thing.”

Breasseale’s comments came in response to questions about how the U.S. was responding to a decision last October by a powerful Islamic leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to issue a fatwa calling for the killing of gays in Iraq. Bush administration officials have cited al-Sistani as a moderate voice among Iraqi Shiites.

Islam considers homosexuality sinful. A website published in the Iranian city of Qom in the name of Sistani, says: “Those who commit sodomy must be killed in the harshest way,” according to BBC news reports…

A network of gay Iraqi exiles in Europe reported that the fatwa triggered a flurry of assassinations, kidnappings and death threats against Iraqi gays.

Ali Hili, founder and spokesperson for the exile group LGBT Iraqis U.K., said Islamic death squads came to life in response to Sistani’s fatwa and brought about an atmosphere of terror among gays. He said some death squad members arranged meetings with gays through chat rooms by posing as gays themselves, then captured and sometimes assaulted or killed their targeted victims.

This is not a new story. Pink News reports that the anti-gay fatwa was lifted on May 10, 2006, while In These Times reported that these hate-killings are being “exported” from Iran.

The BBC ran a related piece in April 2006; Gay City News and Democracy Now both focused on this issue in March 2006. Special thanks to Raw Story for highlighting the Washington Blade piece.

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