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April 13, 2006

U.N. AGENCY CONFIRMS GAY IRAQIS TARGETED FOR KIDNAPPING AND MURDER (Updated)

I wrote the following article for this week's issue of Gay City News -- New York's largest gay weekly -- which hit the newsstands today:

A report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has confirmed that gay Iraqis have been targeted for kidnapping and Gcn_cover_iraq murder because of their sexual orientation, as I earlier reported for Gay City News. (Right, my original March 23 GCN cover story on the Iraqi anti-gay death squads).

This U.N. report, released April 10 by the UNOCHA‘s IRIN news and information service, described the widespread increase in kidnappings for ransom and the subsequent killings of university professors and teachers—350 in the past five months alone—and quoted Iraqi Interior Ministry official Ra’ad Hassan as saying that “roughly 50 kidnappings take place countrywide every day.”

Hassan also told the U.N. office, “Since January, the number of kidnappings has increased unabated, along with attacks and threats against certain communities.”

The U.N. report said that Iraq’s gay community is one of those targeted “for reasons other than ransom money,” and said that one local non-governmental organization reported that “members of Iraq’s small gay community had received more than 70 threats from kidnappers in the past two months, while 12 have been killed.”

The U.N. report quoted Mustafa Salim, spokesman for a local Iraqi gay organization called Rainbow for Life, as saying, “We’re trying to help these people, but it’s getting very difficult, and our organisation has been targeted twice since last month. We know for certain that those killed were targeted because of their sexual preferences.”

Ayatollah_sistani This U.N. report reinforces this reporter’s earlier exposé of the systematic campaign of kidnapping and murder targeting Iraqi gays following the death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (left), spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslims (“Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays,” GCN, March 23-29). That article attributed the sequestrations and killings of Iraqi gays to death squads of the Badr Corps, the Iranian-financed military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the country’s most powerful Shi’ite political group.

While the U.N. report does not mention the Badr Corps—no doubt for political reasons having to do with a desire not to offend Shi’a religious and political authorities—it does confirm that Iraqi gays are under serious and organized attack, as I had previously written in Gay City News.

P.S. In this week's issue of the famous French investigative-satirical weekly Le Canard Enchainé, an article by David Fontaine reprises and credits my original GCN report on the anti-gay Iraqi death squads (unfortunately, the article is not available on Le Canard's very limited website.).....And, in an important February 17 interview with Le Monde that was ignored by the English-language press, the fact that the salaries of the soldiers of the Badr Corps -- whose death squads are carrying out the "sexual cleansing" campaign of murder of gay Iraqis -- are paid by Iran, was confirmed by Ali Debbagh, a counselor to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a member of the Iraqi parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, and a university professor specializing in religious political parties.

UPDATE: On April 17, the BBC became the first major news organization to run a story on the organized murder of Iraqi gays. You can read the entire BBC story, and my comments on it, by clicking here.

For background on the new wave of anti-gay repression in Iran that the Ahmadinejad regime has now exported to Iraq, see my previous articles: July 21, 2005 -- Iran Executes Two Gay Teenagers (Updated); August 11 -- Iran Sources Question Rape Charges in Teen Executions; August 12 -- Two New Gay Executions Scheduled in Iran, Says Iranian Exile Group; August 17 -- Iran's Deadly Anti-Gay Crackdown: With Two More Executions Scheduled, the Pace of Repression Steps Up.August 25 -- Iran's Anti-Gay Purge Grows: Reports of New Executions. September 8 -- Iran and the Death of Gay Activism. September 20 -- "They'll Kill Me" -- A Gay Iranian Torture Victim Speaks of His Ordeal ; September 29 -- Iranian Gays Urgently Appeal for Help ; October 6 -- Canada Introduces UN Resolution Condemning Iran's Human Rights Record; November 24, "Save Us"-- A Gay Iranian Who Married His Partner Begs for Help from the West ; January 12, 2006 -- "Kidnapped: Another Gay Iranian Torture Victim Speaks".....January 27, 2006 -- "A Call to Solidarity: U.S. Gay Groups Must End Their Isolationism; February 8, 2006 -- "An Iranian Trans Torture Victim Speaks from Inside Iran."  February 9, Stop the Deportation of Saba Rawi; March 3, "Dutch to End Freeze on Deportation of Gay Iranians"; March 4, "Commotion in Dutch Parliament Over Deportation of Gay Iranians."; March 16, "England: Another Gay Iranian Faces Deportation"; Also, don't miss Rob Anderson's excellent article in the November 10, 2005 New Republic, "How America's Gay Rights Establishment is Failing Gay Iranians."

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Posted by: winefrithf | May 14, 2009 9:13:07 AM

Hello

I have been doing research and writing about this issue in Iraq since 2003, although I found little interest in the topic.

Good to see that this human rights issue is finally gaining some notice.

Posted by: Ed Brown | May 7, 2006 5:37:41 PM

REPLY TO PAUL D.
If you had bothered to read my original story in Gay City News on all this, which is linked to in the above post twice, you would have found that I explicitly reported that the U.S. occupier has refused to respond to the pleas of Iraqi gays for help. Furthermore the theological-ideological homophobia of Sistani and the Islamic Republic of Iran is one and the same. There is no confusion on my part -- the religious primitives who now rule Iran through Ahmadinejad are behind the anti-gay pogroms in both countries, and Iran is funding the one in Iran, as I documented in my GCN article. Finally, I have written any number of articles exposing U. S. war plans for Iran -- either directly or by proxy through Israel -- and have made clear my opposition to such military action.
Your assumption that one cannot criticize the Iranian regime's depriving its gay citizens of their basic human rights, and of their very lives, without simultaneously favoring an air attack on Iran's nuclear facilitites is evidence of a shallow, sectarian mind and of a faulty grasp of logic. Not to mention of laziness--a few mouse clicks on Google would have regurgitated my articles opposing an attack on Iran. Shame on you for your ignorant slanders and your ill-concealed apologia for a regime that is destroying people whose loves are not approved by the Ayatollahs -- including the Iranian-born-and-trained Sistani.
-- DOUG IRELAND

Posted by: Doug Ireland | Apr 17, 2006 6:29:51 PM

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