As I posted before, Iraq is now killing homosexuals at a startling rate, and since many can’t blend in, are forced into hiding. And three safe houses have now closed for want of funding.
PaulCanning forwards an urgent request from IRAQI LGBT:
IRAQI LGBT started to establish a network of safe houses inside Iraq in March 2006.
As of today, we have only one safe house, we had to consider closing down three of them in the last couple of months, because we are unable to keep paying the rent and other expenses.
The members of our group inside Iraq urgently need funds to open at least five safe houses. These funds will allow us to keep the five safe houses running, and provide safety, shelter, food and many other needs for our LGBT friends inside Iraq. Any funds we receive that go beyond what we need for these five safe houses could be used to open more safe houses in the near future. We desperately need to add more because we have so many urgent cases in other cities. We receive requests for shelter every day, but we are not able to help yet.
In recent months, Iraq’s mullahs have directed a vicious purge of gay Iraqis. Evidently, the Sadrist movement (who have plenty of supporters within the current regime) and the Iraqi government reached an agreement, and if gays aren’t simply shot by militiamen, they are jailed, executed, or tortured to death by the authorities. Many have died via extrajudicial execution, while others were officially imprisoned and executed by hanging. Still others (about 200 in Baghdad) are on death row awaiting hanging.
Activists will protest for the human rights of LGBT Iraqis Sunday outside President Obama’s home in Chicago, and implore him to act.
This year in Chicago, the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) is organizing the city’s IDAHO event as a protest against the Obama administration’s continuing silence about rampant anti-gay violence in U.S.-occupied Iraq. The protest will take place at 2 PM, Sunday, May 17th outside of the Obamas’ Chicago residence at the corner of Hyde Park Boulevard (5100 S.) and Greenwood (1100 E.).
Over the past month, several news outlets have reported an escalating, officially sanctioned campaign to torture and execute gays in Iraq, promoted both by Shi’ite clerics and by the Shi’ite-dominated government which is closely allied with the United States.
As the New York Times reported April 7, “In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge [Baghdad] Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word ‘pervert’ in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.” And as the Huffington Post reported May 3rd, “According to Iraqis and human rights workers interviewed for this post, some sort of understanding was reached between the Iraqi government and the Mahdi Army to ‘cleanse’ Iraq of homosexuals.”
Tortures committed reportedly include gluing the anuses of gay men shut, and then force-feeding them diarrhea-inducing medications which cause agonizing pain followed by death.
Back in 2005, the country’s leading Shi’ite cleric said that gays and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed” and that “the people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” After some protests this language was removed from the cleric’s website, and the anti-gay campaign appeared to subside.
However, over the past month, the campaign in Iraq to murder gays has ramped up again as “Sadr City’s Muslim clerics have reportedly urged the faithful to destroy homosexuality in Iraqi society and police have undertaken an effort to arrest and jail gay men,” said United Press International.
Nick’s Crusade, strongly believing that disability rights activists shouldn’t be stuck in their traditional “silos,” but should be supporting the inalienable human rights of all people, endorses this protest Sunday. Obama should take heed, and, if he can’t pull strings in Baghdad, at the very least he could grant asylum in the U.S. to those who are now hiding in fear.
I don’t have any money (I know; I’m a charitable case myself) but if I did, helping LGBT Iraqis who’re running for their lives is a very worthy cause. For more information, see the IRAQI LGBT blog.
Regardless of your opinions on the gay issue, if you have friends and family that are gay (I do) and wouldn’t want them killed, you should pay attention to the persecution of gays around the world, and raise awareness.