From Doug Ireland of the Gay City News, April 30:
As the murder campaign targeting Iraqi gays intensifies, a leading Arabic television network last week revealed the use of a horrifying new form of lethal torture against Iraqi gay men – anti-gay Shiite death squads are sealing their anuses with a powerful glue, then inducing diarrhea, which leads to a painful and agonizing death. The use of this stomach-turning new torture was first reported by the Al Arabiya network, which is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates and was alerted to the story by a leading Iraqi feminist and human rights activist.
Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), told Al Arabiya that the torture substance “is an Iranian-manufactured glue that, if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile telephones in Iraq.”
Al Arabiya said its reporter confirmed the use of this anal torture by “visiting the Baghdad morgue in Bab-al-Moazaam in central Baghdad, where Neman Mohsen, the medical examiner, confirmed they have the bodies of seven homosexuals in the morgue. He said, ‘We were not able to identify the culprits, who dumped the bodies in front of the morgue and fled without being seen.’” A two-person team from Human Rights Watch (HRW) currently in Iraq to investigate persecution of LGBT people has also confirmed the use of this form of torture. In a widely-circulated email from Iraq, the head of HRW’s LGBT desk, Scott Long, said he and his colleague had gathered evidence which confirms the Al Arabiya report and that HRW would make its own detailed report after the organization’s two staffers return to the United States next week.
Yesterday, MSNBC’s World Blog posted additional information:
Iraq’ gay population is being targeted by militia groups in a wave of killings that has claimed the lives of up to 25 young men and boys in the past month.
“They know I am gay. I don’t know if I am going to be killed, this is up to God,” said Moyad, a 38-year-old Baghdad resident who would not give his last name out of fear for his safety.
Visibly frightened, he said that he has many friends who have been sadistically tortured, some even murdered. “They are sticking glue up their anuses; some hospitals refuse to treat them. Is it a war waged against homosexuals?” he asked.
Most of the attacks have happened in Baghdad’ Shia neighborhoods, and many believe that religious leaders have used Friday sermons in Sadr City as a platform to incite hatred and violence toward homosexuals. The bodies of three gay men were reported to have been found in Sadr City in April with pieces of paper bearing the word for “pervert” attached to them.
The language used by the perpetrators in Iraq is much the same as that used by Exodus International and its allies in March when they launched the current campaign of intimidation and violence against same-sex-attracted persons in Uganda:
Posters and leaflets have been distributed in the Baghdad neighborhoods of al-Shola, al-Hurya and Sadr City with orders to, “Cleanse Iraq from the crime of homosexuality.”
In Uganda, the campaign co-launched by Exodus International board member Don Schmierer vowed to “wipe out” homosexuality, while Exodus continues to promise U.S. antigay heterosexuals “freedom from homosexuality” — and, it logically follows, from homosexuals.
Baghdad police didn’t respond to inquiries from NBC News about the attacks, but the surge in violence has gained attention by the international media.
In a letter to Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki in April, Amnesty International called for “urgent and concerted action” to stop the killings of men because of their sexual orientation.
Amnesty International expressed concern at the government’ failure to “publicly condemn the killings.” It urged the government to make sure that the killings are “promptly and effectively investigated, and to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice.” The letter also condemned statements from one senior police officer that,”appear to condone or even encourage the targeting of members of the gay community in Baghdad.” An Amnesty spokeswoman said there had not yet been a reply from Iraqi authorities.
The message of Exodus and NARTH, that homosexuality is a mental illness to be treated or eliminated, resonates well beyond U.S. borders and nations such as Uganda that are served by the Exodus Global Alliance. According to Towleroad:
English language newspaper The National, based in Abu Dhabi, reports on the recent executions of gay men in Iraq.
They interview a man they call Abu Muslim, who claims to be involved in the actual killings:
“We see this [homosexuality] as a serious illness in the community that has been spreading rapidly among the youth after it was brought in from the outside by American soldiers. These are not the habits of Iraq or our community and we must eliminate them…We had approval from the main Iraqi tribes here to liquidate those [men] copying the ways of women. Our aim is not to destabilise the security situation. Our aim is to help stabilise society…Although the Mahdi Army is today limited and in fact stalled, we cannot sit by with our arms crossed while these homosexuals flout the rules and ethics that must be followed under the Islamic religion. These homosexuals think that Iraq is changing and becoming a non-Muslim, liberal society but our tribal and religious customs allow us to punish them in the most severe way.”
Change is possible — social change, that is. But violent antigay religious leaders in Iraq, elevated and empowered by an incompetent U.S. occupation, are determined to use any means necessary to stop change.