The Colorado congressman says the murder of gay Iraqis are “egregious human rights violations” and wants U.S. and Iraqi officials to investigate how this could happen. It’s something Queerty‘s been demanding too, but even we’ll admit: Rep. Jared Polis, Congress’ first openly gay member, has more pull with higher ups.
He’s been traveling Iraq this week and “met with the Iraqi Charges D’Affairs, members of the Iraqi Parliament’s Human-Rights Committee, and US State Department officials in Baghdad, and gave them a letter outlining the allegations and urging their immediate investigation. Thus far, the Charge D’Affaires has requested more documentation and the chance to speak with witnesses and victims.” The letter is here (PDF). The results? Forthcoming … we hope.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International is sending a letter to Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki demanding “urgent and concerted action” to stop the murders — veritably sanctioned by the Iraqi government by failing to satisfactorily investigate the crimes, nor condemn them.
Amnesty said the murders appear to have been carried out by militiamen and relatives of the victims, after being incited by religious leaders. Homosexuality has always been taboo in the country, but a surge of killings followed religious leaders’ sermons condemning “deviancy”.
The violence came after the improved security situation briefly encouraged some gay men to start meeting discreetly in public. This led to furious condemnation from clerics who have called for homosexuality – which can lead to a prison sentence of seven years – to be eradicated from Iraqi society.
Most of the killings have taken place in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, controlled by ultra-conservative Shi’ite militia. Murders have also been reported in Basra, Najaf and Karbala.
The bodies of four gay men, each bearing a sign with the Arabic word for “pervert” on their chests, were discovered in Sadr City three weeks ago. Following the discovery of another two corpses six days later, an unnamed official in the city told Reuters: “They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honour.”
No arrests have been made. Ali Hili, the London spokesman for Iraqi LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) said it had received reports of at least 63 killings in the last four months. He told The Independent: “Since mid-December we’ve been getting lots of reports about mass arrests and raids on houses, cafes, barbers shops.” He claimed police and the Ministry of the Interior were behind some of the murders.
“Most of the people who are arrested are found dead, with signs of torture and burns. We believe a war has been launched by the Iraqi Government and its establishment against gay people.”
heard this today on bbc,i think it was him they were talking to
1. This absolutely deserves attention and action. That being said, I’m not holing my breath. Though many Arab societies have a history of being accepting to some extent of homosexual behavior (identity is another story…), this tolerance seems to have long since fallen by the wayside.
2. “Congress’ first openly gay member…” That honor actually belongs to a chap by the name of Gerry Studds, though to his credit, Polis was the first openly gay Congressman to be elected (Studds and Barney Frank were both elected from within the closet).
Wow George, what a great democracy you created by invading Iraq… ASSHOLE!
I second Mzungu’s post about “first openly gay member” and add that Tammy Baldwin was out when she was first elected to Congress, but being lesbian, not “gay,” Polis gets the honor for first openly gay man elected to Congress. Regardless, it’s an accomplishment for openly gay people to be elected to Congress from any state and he is clearly serving our people well.
Weren’t Studds and Frank both outed (Studds for sleeping with a 17 year old page and Frank for hiring a male prostitute)? I don’t call that “openly gay.”
And where’s Jim Kolbe in all this (besides cruising U of A students at IBT’s)? I know he was also “outed,” but not for doing anything illegal.
And how is it that the Republican was the one not doing something illegal? That doesn’t seem right.
I know, I know. Spitzer. Blagojevich. Don’t flame me.
Sorry to not be political….but that Jared is just so fuckin cute.
What is disturbing to me is why is the Obama Administration so reluctant to investigate what has been widely reported in the MSM? This is certainly not the “change we can believe in” I do hope Congressman Polis continues to push Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to act on this. While we are at it..why are we leaving out other repressive regimes such as Iran?
and where are Congressman Frank and Congresswoman Baldwin on this issue?
and where are the likes of HRC and other Gay organizations expressing outrage and demanding an investigation? Only Queerty and GayPatriot.net (Gay conservative site) have demanded something to be done. Thanks to both sites for standing up for us.
Thanks Queerty for your efforts…..and thanks to Congressman Polis for standing tall and doing the right thing!!!
Let us also not forget the pogrom that the government of Iran has been conducting against gays for quite some time. There is no shortage of information about this online. Sadly, the Muslim world is even more violently strict against homosexuality than American fundamentalist Christianity – at least in this country gay kids from oppressive and intolerant families have somewhere to escape to, and opportunities for inclusion in other social groups. Apparently that is not the case in the Middle East. These so-called “honor killings” are unfortunately all-too commonplace. However, the strained relationship between the United States and Iran prevents members of our government from being able to take a vocal stance on this issue. Hopefully our nation’s leaders will one day be able to take a stance all across the world to include gay rights in its human rights profile. The bravery of Rep. Polis should be commended and definitely is a step in the right direction.
@jed: There was a gay ex-Muslim here recently talking about how his father threatened to kill him. His story was absolutely chilling to read.
I support any war against an Islamic hellhole. I may think it could have been much better handled, but homophobes must pay dearly for their actions. I also want a war on Jamaica.
ok but isn’t the prescribed punishment for homosexual men under sharia (sp) law beheading?
You faggots will burn in hell
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