Archive for the ‘Islamism’ Category
Vice Chancellor urged to resign, after ignoring complaints
Student’s Union backs hosting Islamist hate-mongers
London – 24 November 2009
“University College London is planning to host an extremist Islamist preacher, Abu Usamah, who endorses the murder of gay people and of Muslims who give up their faith. He also encourages the beating of little girls who refuse to wear the hijab,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
“The university would never allow a lecture by a white supremacist who used racist abuse and advocated the murder of black people. Why the double standards?” queried Mr Tatchell.
Abu Usamah has been invited to address the Islamic Society at University College London next Monday, 30 November.
On 4 November, he was given a similar platform by City University.
“The Vice Chancellor of City University London, Julius Weinberg, should resign. He has ignored student’s complaints after the Islamic Society organised an on-campus meeting addressed by Abu Usamah.
“It is utterly disgraceful that the student’s union has defended the hosting of this hate preacher, and that the Vice Chancellor has not responded to protests from students. This violates the equal opportunities policies of the university and the student’s union,” added Mr Tatchell.
Abu Usamah was recorded for Channel Four’s television documentary, Undercover Mosque, as saying: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man ….and throw him off the mountain…. If I was to turn around and I was to call homosexuals perverted, dirty filthy dogs that should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech isn’t it?”
On Muslims who leave the faith he said: “Kill him in the Islamic state…If the Imam wants to crucify him, he should crucify him. The person is put up on the wood and he’s left there to bleed to death for three days.”
Abu Usamah was also filmed by Channel Four deriding women as “deficient”, inferior to men and religously and intellectually “incomplete.” He advocates violence against little girls who refuse to wear the hijab: “She should start hijab from the age of seven, by the age of ten it becomes an obligation on us to force her to wear hijab and if she doesn’t wear hijab, we hit her.”
Another speaker given a platform at the same City University event on 4 November, Murtaza Khan, was also caught on the Undercover Mosque documentary calling Jews and Christians “enemies” and non-Muslims “filthy”.
“The Vice Chancellor seems unwilling to uphold the university’s equal opportunities policy. He has failed to defend Muslim, Jewish, Christian, gay and women students and staff against these hate-mongers. Having neglected to ensure that the university is a safe, non-threatening place to work and study, Julius Weinberg should stand down,” said Mr Tatchell.
A copy of the City University newspaper news report and editorial on the case follows below.
Peter Tatchell – 0207 403 1790
Fran Singh, Editor, The Inquirer
0781 799 8889
A copy of the City University newspaper news report and editorial on the case:
Storm over extremist preachers
The Inquirer, City University London newspaper
18 NOVEMBER 2009
By Gemma Meredith
Lesbian and gay students have condemned City’s Islamic Society for hosting an extreme Islamist preacher at a campus event.
Abu Usamah spoke at the Islamic Society’s charity fundraising event “The People of Paradise and Hellfire” on Wednesday 4 November. He is notorious for his appearance in a Channel 4 documentary two years ago making inflammatory comments about homosexuals, women, non-Muslims and those who have left the faith.
The film recorded him saying: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.” On Muslims who leave the faith he said: “If the Imam wants to crucify him, he should crucify him. The person is put up on the wood and he’s left there to bleed to death for three days.”
He also claimed on the record that women were inferior to men: “Allah has created the woman, even if she has a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete. Deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.”
The City University Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Society released a statement on Usamah’s appearance, saying: “Providing publicity for extremists who preach hate risks not just freedom of speech, but all human rights, democracy and ultimately, the well-being of students at City University.
“We strongly oppose the decision to invite extremist Abu Usamah to speak at one of the largest lecture theatres at City University. Inviting such a controversial extremist who has previously expressed offensive views about homosexuals, women and non-Muslims to our university campus is morally and ethically wrong.
“Events such as this, led by a speaker who shares generally immoral views including homophobia, is likely to lead to an already increasing rise in hate crime in London.”
Usamah avoided controversy at the City event, delivering a moderate speech. Although he condemned killing in the name of jihad (holy war), he also said: “Jihad is from our religion. We will not renounce our religion.”
It is not only Usumah’s appearance that has caused concern. The opening speaker, Murthadah Khan, was also caught on the Undercover Mosque documentary calling Jews and Christians “enemies” and “filthy”. Publicity for the event said: “Bring all your friends; Muslims, kuffaar.” Kuffaar is a derogatory term for non-Muslims.
The Inquirer offered an interview to the Islamic Society, which declined to comment. Acting vice-chancellor Julius Weinberg was also unavailable for comment.
Marcus Mikely, vice-president of communications and publications for City students’ union, said: “The university has no right to stop this from happening as the event was based around charity, not his views on other subjects. If the union had received complaints prior to the event, we would have looked into it.”
This is not the first time the Islamic Society has courted controversy. In April it invited Anwar al-Awlaki to address a meeting via video link from Yemen.
Al-Awlaki, an American, has been accused by the US Government of encouraging “terrorist acts” via the internet. He was interviewed by the FBI after the 9/11 attacks, when he was accused of serving as a spiritual adviser to two of the terrorists. He recently had communication with Major Nidal Hassan, the US soldier who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood army base. He has described Hassan as “a hero”.
In April the university officials intervened, warning the society that broadcasting al-Awlaki’s speech would break university rules. The university’s official code of practice on freedom of speech says: “We will guarantee by policy and action the right of free speech within the university community unless the exercise of such a right can be shown to lead to or increase significantly the probability of the discrimination of individuals or groups, harm to individuals or groups within the university, or the university or the community within which the university is located.”
EDITORIAL – The Inquirer says
19 NOVEMBER 2009
Tragically, the Islamic society has become both victim as well as a perpetrator of discrimination within the space of a week. The horrific mob attack in which four Asians were stabbed (two of them City students), appears to have been racially motivated.
There is no evidence to suggest the attack is in anyway linked to the invitation of radical Muslim preachers Abu Usamah and Murthadah Khan, which was strongly condemned by the LGBT society, but there must be questions asked as to why extremism has been allowed to prosper in the Islamic society. Consider these quotes by Abu Usamah and Murthadah Khan: “Do you practice homosexuality with men? Take that homosexual man and throw him off the mountain.”
“Allah has created the woman, even if she has a PhD, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete. Deficient. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.” “Those whom the wrath of God is upon is the Jew and the Christian. These people are enemies towards us.”
Why does the Islamic society continue to invite hate preachers to the university? It certainly does nothing to promote integration with other communities and can often lead to dangerous and incorrect stereotyping.
It is not the university’s place to ban everyone who challenges and pushes the boundaries – as it has done on past occasions with varying inconsistency. Free speech is a universal right and should be defended, but hate speech should not. Equally, we should be free to criticise those who wish to divide us, spread homophobia and sexism, and call Jews and Christians “filthy”.
The Islamic Society needs to take more responsibility about whom it extends invitations to. The university, a place for education, should not be the arena for non-educational talks from radicals, especially when it causes serious offence to large proportions of the student population.
Since the attacks the Islamic Society has published a graphic on its website saying “Islamaphobia is terrorism”. It also added: “Non-Muslims are also encouraged to take care of themselves and be cautious of any suspicious behaviour. Our concern is not restricted to Muslim welfare only.” With no pun intended, perhaps the society needs to practice what it preaches a little bit more. It doesn’t appear to be too concerned about the welfare of those whose Khan and Usamah’s opinions so actively risk.
Further information: Fran Singh, Editor, The Inquirer
0781 799 8889
No Sharia rally in London
Oppose all religious laws & courts
Call for secularism & universal human rights
London – 21 November 2009
Muslims, ex-Muslims and non-Muslims joined forces in London to protest against Sharia and against all religious laws and courts.
The themes of the protest were “one law for all” and “universal human rights.”
Expressing solidarity with Muslims resisting the “inequalities and inhumanities” of Sharia law, the protesters affirmed their commitment to democracy, secularism, equality and human rights.
The rally took place in Hyde Park today, Saturday 21 November 2009
Among those addressing the crowds were speakers from Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and the UK. They expressed solidarity with Muslim communities worldwide and condemned racist, anti-Muslim far right and fascist groups.
“Sharia law is a form of religious dogma and tyranny. It is homophobic, sexist and anti-democratic. It persecutes LGBT Muslims. Same-sex acts carry the death penalty in several Islamic states. Gay people can be stoned to death or hanged in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. We support LGBT Muslims – and all Muslims – who are fighting for their freedom,” said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT human rights group OutRage! and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East.
“This protest supports secular democracy. Secularism is often confused with anti-clericalism. The two are not the same. Secularism is not against religion per se. It is against giving religion privileged status, rights and protections.
“We believe there should be a separation of religion from the state. No faith should dominate any government and seek to impose its creed on the rest of society. When this happens, freedom of expression is diminished and minority faiths are victimised.
“For these reasons, secularism is not only an important element of freedom of expression. It is also the best guarantee of religious freedom, as it prevents any one faith becoming politically dominant and abusing its powers to oppress people of other faiths,” Mr Tatchell added.
Lib Dem MP Evan Harris condemned the government for “caving in to religious pressure.” He cited the way Britain’s equality laws allow religious bodies to discriminate against LGBT people and people in certain circumstances. Mr Harris also condemned the government for giving privileged advisory status on policy and legislation to often unrepresentative faith leaders.
Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union warned that over 50 Islamic states, with the support of many developing countries, are currently “demanding that the United Nations outlaw the defamation of religion.” This would restrict free speech by criminalising criticism and condemnation of religious beliefs and institutions, he said.
A speaker from Iraq, Issam Shukri, told the rally how Islamist militias linked to the cleric and MP Muqtada al-Sadr had executed dozens of women who they deemed to be improperly dressed because were not fully covered head-to-toe. These militias have also organised death squad executions of LGBT Iraqis.
Maryan Namazie, the rally organiser, told the crowd:
“Our rally is being held to mark Universal Children’s Day and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. We are not defending western values. We are defending universal humanitarian values. Sharia adversely affects the rights, lives and freedoms of countless human beings across the world. Opposing Sharia law is a crucial step in defending universal equal rights and secularism, and showing real solidarity with people living under and resisting Sharia.”
Philosopher AC Grayling warned that Sharia law was an attack on precious, hard-won, civil liberties. It was a threat to freedom of speech, freedom of belief and freedom of conscience, he said.
Rahila Gupta from Southall Black Sisters highlighted the way religion and cultural tradition are often anti-women and homophobic. She urged solidarity with women resisting patriarchal clericalism and demanded equal rights for women, whatever their cultural, ethnic or religious background.
Excerpts from Peter Tatchell’s speech at the Hyde Park rally:
“We are here to defend Muslim people – and all people everywhere – who are victims of religious tyranny.
“We support the many victims of Sharia law, especially the Muslim women who are campaigning for equality. We cannot accept the way Islamic states, including western allies like Saudi Arabia, restrict women’s freedom of movement, make women subject to the control of male guardians, deny women access to certain jobs and positions in government and enforce the compulsory veiling of women with the hijab, niqab, jilbab or burqa.
“We stand in opposition to all religious laws in Britain and worldwide.
“We express our support for the many courageous, inspiring Muslims who are campaigning against the inequalities and inhumanities of Sharia law, often at great risk to their liberty and life.
“Contrary to the way our critics are trying to misrepresent our rally, this is not an attack on Muslims or Islam. We are here to support Muslims who are resisting Sharia law.
“We defend Muslims and people of all faiths against hatred and discrimination. The victimisation of people because of their religious beliefs is just as wrong as victimising people because of their race, gender or sexuality.
“In a democracy, everyone should be subject to the same laws, with the same rights and responsibilties. Religious rulings should not influence the laws or courts in any way.
“We believe that Muslims and all peoples worldwide should have rights, freedoms and choices, in accordance with the principles of equality and non-discrimination that are enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are not western values. They are international humanitarian values, agreed by the global consensus of the member states of the UN.
“It is wrong to tolerate the denial of human rights to non-white Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, when most of us would never tolerate the denial of these rights to white (and non-white) people in Britain.
“There should be no double standards. No moral or cultural relativism. Defend universal human rights. One law for all,” said Mr Tatchell.
For further information and photos, contact Maryam Namazie firstname.lastname@example.org
Terror Campaign Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Iraqis Continues Unchecked by Iraqi Government
IRAQI LGBT – November 2009 – The rise of fundamentalist groups in Iraq since the 2003 U.S. led invasion has proven deadly to LGBT Iraqis, who are now being forced to either hide or face the consequences.
Using the internet as a means to track down new victims, militia members are now employing computer analysts to monitor traffic on gay dating and networking websites in the region. They work with internet café owners to single out people who frequent these sites and set up fake profiles in the attempt to lure them out.
On the 28th of August, police raided the houses of Asad Galib and Faeq Ismail, both 24 years old, and took them into custody. They were held and questioned for about four hours, accused of viewing gay websites in an internet café on the 21st of July. Both men denied the accusations and explained that the websites had already been open when they had begun using the computers. They were later released and are now in contact with Iraqi LGBT, a London based organization working to support and protect LGBT individuals in Iraq.
Others who have been accused or are suspected of such activities have not been as lucky.
On the 2nd of September, the body of 21-year-old student Mizher Hussien was discovered in Al Najaf, a city south of Baghdad. His head and genitals had been severed, and he had the word “pervert” written in black across his chest. The details of his murder are unknown, and Iraqi police have refused to launch an investigation into the cause or motivation of the crime.
On the 18th of September in Al Shatra Amara, two bodies were found exhibiting signs of torture. They had both been decapitated and left with a paper stating, “This is the end of all pervert homosexuals”.
Iraqi LGBT has been working since 2003 to raise awareness of the abuses being committed against LGBT people in Iraq, as well as provide protection to those who have been targeted. The organization currently funds a number of safe houses in the region, with nearly 100 individuals in Iraq directly benefitting from their work. In addition, Iraqi LGBT has been involved in securing asylum for Iraqi refugees who have been forced to flee the country.
Unfortunately, Iraqi LGBT has not been able to help everyone. The organization estimates that over 720 LGBT men and women have been murdered by these extremist militias in the last six years. The Iraqi government has largely been absent in pursuing the roaming death squads who carry out these acts, likely due to the influence of extremist Shia religious parties that are calling for a moral cleansing of Iraq.
With extremist militias threatening all those known to support LGBT rights, including the 2006 raid of an Iraqi LGBT planning meeting in which five activists were arrested, there is little hope for Iraqis suffering under the new socio-political climate. Once the most liberal and secular of the Arab nations, nowadays a religious extremism has taken hold of the country to the detriment of its people.
Iraqi LGBT calls for immediate international action to prevent the further torture and execution of LGBT people in Iraq. More information and details on making donations to the safe houses effort can be found at the Iraqi LGBT blog:
Peter Tatchell says solidarity with the Iranian freedom struggle is non-negotiable, no matter how much the US threatens a military strike
Principled, consistent left-wingers do not base their politics on the unprincipled, inconsistent geo-political manoeuvres of western powers. We stand with the oppressed against their oppressors, regardless of what the west (or anyone else) demands or threatens.
US sabre-rattling against Iran is worrying. A military attack must be resisted. However, opposition to Washington’s war-mongering and neo-imperial designs is no reason for socialists, greens and other progressives to go soft on Tehran.
Iran is an Islamo-fascist state – a clerical form of fascism based on a confluence of Islamic fundamentalism and police state methods. It differs, of course, from traditional European-style fascism, being rooted in religious dogma and autocracy. This makes it no less barbaric. Iran under the ayatollahs has a history of repression that is even bloodier than Franco’s clerical fascist regime in Spain. Sadly, it merits far less outrage by the left.
Tehran’s tyrannical religious state embodies many (though not all) the characteristics of classical fascism: a substantially corporatist political and economic system maintained by a highly centralised repressive state apparatus. This repression includes bans on non-Islamist political parties and free trade unions, and a regime of unfair trials, detention without charge, torture, executions, media censorship, gender apartheid, violent suppression of peaceful protests and strikes, and the persecution of left-wingers, students, feminists, journalists, gay people and religious and ethnic minorities. Even lawyers and human rights defenders – are imprisoned and tortured.
The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also pursuing a racist, neo-colonial policy against Iran’s minority nationalities, such as the Arabs (who are abused even more harshly than the Israelis abuse the Palestinians), Kurds and Baluchs.
Iraq’s queer underground railroad
A secret network of safe houses and escape routes is saving gay Iraqis from execution by Islamist death squads
By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
In the bad old days of slavery in the United States, there was the “Underground Railroad” – a clandestine network of secret routes and safe houses – which spirited thousands of southern slaves to freedom in the north.
Today, 200 years later in Iraq, a modern version of the underground railroad is saving the lives of gay people who are fleeing Islamist death squads. It is providing safe houses in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, and is smuggling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to neighbouring countries, where it helps them apply for United Nations humanitarian protection. This secret network, coordinated by Iraqi LGBT exiles in London, is saving dozens of lives.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, homophobia and the terrorisation of LGBT people has got much worse. The western invasion of Iraq in 2003 ended the tyrannical Baathist dictatorship. But it also destroyed a secular state, created chaos and lawlessness and allowed the flourishing of religious fundamentalism. The result has been an Islamist-inspired homophobic terror campaign against LGBT Iraqis.
This campaign of terror is sanctioned, some say orchestrated, by Iraq’s leading Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In 2005, he issued a fatwa urging the killing of LGBT people in the “worst, most severe way” possible.
This is the same al-Sistani who was praised by President Bush as a “leading moderate.” The British government concurred. We hosted him for medical treatment. He was anti-Saddam, so the West backed him, even after he issued his murderous religious edicts.
Although the general security situation has improved in Iraq, for LGBT people it has deteriorated sharply. Systematic assassinations of queers are being orchestrated by police and security agents in the Ministry of the Interior, many of whom are former members of the Iranian-backed Badr Corps militia.
Queers are being shot dead in their homes, streets and workplaces. Even suspected
gay children are being murdered.
The killers claim to be doing these assassinations at the behest of the “democratic” Iraqi government, in order to eradicate what they see as immoral, unIslamic behaviour.
This programme of targeted murders has one aim, according to the death squads: the total eradication of all queers from Iraq. It is, in effect, a form of sexual cleansing. The killers boast that most “sodomites” have already been eliminated.
The Ministry of the Interior is, of course, a key ministry in the UK and US-backed, government of Iraq. Some democracy! In fact, there is no democracy or human rights at all for Iraqi queers. If the government in Baghdad is not actively encouraging the mass killing of LGBT people, it is definitely allowing rogue police and Islamists to do so.
To protect against this terror and save lives, Iraqi LGBT has created its underground queer railroad, complete with safe houses and escape routes.
“Since establishing the safe houses project in 2006 we have provided refuge for dozens of gay people who were being hunted by death squads,” reports Ali Hili, coordinator of Iraqi LGBT.
“We have also assisted people to escape from Iraq to neighbouring countries, where we have established resettlement projects. Our efforts have got gay refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and we’ve already moved some of them a third safer country, in Europe or North America. These lucky ones are now beginning to rebuild their lives,” said Mr Hili.
K is a 33 year old architect who escaped to Amman in Jordan. He now helps run the Iraqi LGBT support group there; aiding other LGBT refugees from Iraq. So far, seven out of 23 Iraqi LGBT refugees who have been smuggled to Jordan have had their applications for asylum approved by the UNHCR and been able to secure asylum in countries like the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.
This heroic work is not without its risks and sacrifices. Many of the underground activists have been assassinated, in a series of grisly homophobic and transphobic murders:
Two lesbians who ran the safe house in the city of Najaf were butchered, together with a young boy they had rescued from the sex industry. Last summer, the coordinator of a Baghdad safe house, Bashar, was gunned to death in his local barber’s shop by an Islamist hit squad. Previously, five gay activists who organised another Baghdad safe house were massacred.
The lack of funds is a perpetual problem. Three of the five safe houses in Baghdad had to close last year because of a lack of donations to keep them running. Two of the houses have since been reopened but it is a constant struggle to fund them. Money is needed to pay rent, electricity and food bills for the 10-12 LGBT refugees who are crammed into each house.
Many more LGBT Iraqis need a place to hide. Don’t let them be killed for want of a safe refuge. Please make a cheque payable to “Iraqi LGBT” and send it to the address on their website, or make a credit card donation via their website PayPal link. See here:
Help Iraqi LGBT continue its brave, inspiring, life-saving work.
New plans to widen the definition of who is an extremist in the eyes of the British government could include Muslims who object to homosexuality.
A revised counter-terrorism strategy is to be published next month.
The Guardian reports that a range of beliefs held by many Muslims could be classed as extreme under the new definition, among them the promotion of Sharia law, which punishes homosexuality with the death penalty, advocating a pan-Islamic state or supporting jihad.
The new strategy “would widen the definition of extremists to those who hold views that clash with what the government defines as shared British values,” the paper reports.
“Those who advocate the wider definition say hardline Islamist interpretation of the Qur’an leads to views that are the root cause of the terrorism threat Britain faces.”
An in-depth survey in 2007 into the attitudes of Muslims living in London revealed that less than 5% thought homosexual acts are “acceptable,” compared with more than 65% of the general population.
The previous year Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, was investigated by police over comments he made on BBC radio.
He called homosexuality, “a practice that in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that comes along in a society, it is not acceptable.
“Each of our faiths tells us that it is harmful and, I think, if you look into the scientific evidence that has been available in terms of the forms of various illnesses and diseases that are there, surely it points out that where homosexuality is practised there is a greater concern in that area.”
In September Channel 4 screened Dispatches documentary Undercover Mosque: The Return.
It features a female reporter attending prayer meetings at an important British mosque which claims to be dedicated to moderation and dialogue with other faiths.
She secretly filmed sermons given to the women-only congregation in which female preachers recited extremist and intolerant beliefs.
One preacher called for adulterers, homosexuals, women who act like men and Muslim converts to other faiths to be killed, saying: “Kill him, kill him. You have to kill him, you understand. This is Islam.””
The original January 2007 Undercover Mosque documentary showed preacher Abu Usamah at Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham calling for gay people to be executed.
“If I were to call homosexuals perverted, dirty, filthy dogs who should be murdered, that’s my freedom of speech, isn’t it?” he told followers.
A scene also showed a preacher calling for people to “take that homosexual and throw him off a mountain.”
Sexual cleansing in Iraq
Islamist death squads are hunting down gay Iraqis and summarily executing them
WATCH the video link below – and weep:
By Peter Tatchell
London & Baghdad – 25 September 2008
STOP PRESS: This morning, news came from Iraq that the coordinator of Iraqi LGBT in Baghdad, Bashar, aged 27, has been assassinated in a barber shop. Militias burst in and sprayed his body with bullets.
The so-called improved security situation in Iraq is not benefiting all Iraqis, especially not gay ones. Islamist death squads are engaged in a homophobic killing spree, with the active encouragement of leading Muslim clerics, such as Moqtada al-Sadr, as Newsweek recently revealed.
One of these clerics, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Shia Islam, issued a fatwa urging the killing of lesbians and gays in the “worst, most severe way possible.”
The short film, Queer Fear – Gay Life, Gay Death in Iraq, produced by David Grey for Village Film, documents the tragic fates of a several individual gay Iraqis.
Watch and weep. A truly poignant and moving revelation about the terrorisation and murder of Iraqi lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Since this film was made, the killings have continued and, many say, got worse.
For gay Iraqis there is little evidence of the transition to democracy. They don’t experience any new-found respect human rights. Life for them is even worse than under the tyrant Saddam Hussein.
It is a death sentence in today’s “liberated” Iraq to love a person of the same-sex, or for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, or for a Muslim to give up his / her faith or embrace another religion.
The reality on the ground is that theocracy is taking hold of the country, including in Basra, which was abandoned by the British military. In place of foreign occupation, the city’s inhabitants now endure the terror of fundamentalist militias and death squads. Those who are deemed insufficiently devout and pure are liable to be assassinated.
The death squads of the Badr Brigades and the Madhi Army are targeting gays and lesbians, according to UN reports, in a systematic campaign of sexual cleansing. They proudly boast of their success, claiming that they have already exterminated all “perverts and sodomites” in many of the major cities.
You can view photos of a few of the LGBT victims of these summary executions here:
My friends in Iraq have relayed to me the tragic story of five gay activists, who belonged to the underground movement gay rights movement, Iraqi LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).
Eye-witnesses confirm that they saw the men being led out of a house at gun-point by officers in police uniform. Yes, Iraqi police! Nothing has been heard of the five victims since then. In all probability, they have been executed by the police – or by Islamist death squads who have infiltrated the Iraqi police and who are using their uniforms to carry out so-called honour killings of gay people, unchaste women and many others.
The arrested and disappeared men were Amjad 27, Rafid 29, Hassan 24, Ayman 19 and Ali 21. As members of Iraq’s covert gay rights movement, for the previous few months they had been documenting the killing of lesbians and gays, relaying details of the murders to the outside world, and providing safe houses and support to other gay people fleeing the death squads.
Their abduction is just one of many outrages by anti-gay death squads. lslamist killers burst into the home of two lesbians in city of Najaf. They shot them dead, slashed their throats, and also murdered a young child who the women had rescued from the sex trade. The two women, both in their mid-30s, were members of Iraqi LGBT. They were providing a safe house for gay men on the run from death squads. By sheer luck, none of the men who were being given shelter in the house were at home when the assassins struck. They have since fled to Baghdad and are hiding in an Iraqi LGBT safe house there.
Large parts of Iraq are now under the de facto control of the militias and their death squad units. They enforce a harsh interpretation of Sharia law, summarily executing people for what they denounce as “crimes against Islam.” These “crimes” include listening to western pop music, wearing shorts or jeans, drinking alcohol, selling videos, working in a barber’s shop, homosexuality, dancing, having a Sunni name, adultery and, in the case of women, not being veiled or walking in the street unaccompanied by a male relative.
Two militias are doing most of the killing. They are the armed wings of major parties in the Bush and Brown-backed Iraqi government. Madhi is the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, and Badr is the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is the leading political force in Baghdad’s governing coalition. Both militias want to establish an Iranian-style religious dictatorship. The allied occupation of Iraq is bad enough. But if the Madhi or Badr militias gain in influence and strength, as seems likely in the long-term, it could result in a reign of religious terror many times worse.
Saddam Hussein was a bloody tyrant. I campaigned against his blood-stained misrule for nearly 30 years. But while Saddam was President, there was certainly no danger of gay people being assassinated in their homes and in the street by religious fanatics.
Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of lesbians and gays is much worse.
Even children suspected of being gay are abducted and later found shot in the head.
Lesbian and gay Iraqis cannot seek the protection of the police, since the police are heavily infiltrated by fundamentalists, especially the Badr militia. The death squads can kill with impunity. Pro-fundamentalist ministers in the Iraqi government are turning a blind eye to the killings, and helping to protect the killers. Some “liberation”.
* Iraqi LGBT is appealing for funds to help the work of their members in Iraq. Since they don’t yet have a bank account, they request that cheques should be made payable to “OutRage!”, with a cover note marked “For Iraqi LGBT”, and sent to OutRage!, PO Box 17816, London SW14 8WT.
More information on Iraqi LGBT or to make a donation by PayPal:
This is a generic event but some people on here that are in London on the Sunday 28th may be interested in coming. The counter demo starts at 1pm at Piccadilly Circus.
Call for Al-Quds Day Counter Demo on Sunday 28th Sept
Islamic Republic sponsored annual march through the streets of London is due on Sunday 28th Sept.
To oppose this Islamic Republic propaganda march, we will assemble for a standing counter-demo at Piccadilly Circus at 1:00 PM.
Join us to oppose the Islamic Republic march on this day.
Last year’s Al-Quds march and counter demo:
Erm before I and others organising the counter demo get denounced for being a stooge of Bush and the US government I would draw attention of people to this little fact.
It is not just gay asylum seekers that have trouble with the British and US authorities.
The story had a happy ending and Arash is now out of the detention centre (Arash’s case has not been re heard by the Home Office though).
Mehdi must stay demo
Iran’s homophobic persecution condemned
Call to reform the asylum system to protect LGBT refugees
London – 25 March 2008
Over 120 protesters braved hail and rain to demand that gay Iranian asylum seeker, Mehdi Kazemi, be granted refuge in the UK.
They also urged asylum for the Iranian lesbian refugee, Pegah Emambakhsh, and an estimated 12 other gay Iranians who are at risk of deportation back to Tehran.
There were calls for a “fundamental reform” of the way the Home Office treats LGBTI asylum applicants.
The demonstration took place opposite the Prime Minister’s residence, Downing Street, on Saturday 22 March.
See photos of the protest:
(credit: OutRage! – free use, no charge)
“The British government had ordered Mr Kazemi to be deported back to Iran,” said protest speaker Peter Tatchell, spokesperson for the LGBTI human rights group OutRage!.
“Following worldwide protests, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith MP, has agreed to review Mehdi’s case. While there is no guarantee that this review will result in him being allowed to stay, we are hopeful that he will be permitted to lodge a fresh asylum claim and that this will result in Mehdi being given refugee status in the UK.”
Saturday’s protest was sponsored by Middle East Workers’ Solidarity and the National Union of Students LGBT campaign, with the support of OutRage!
The protest’s three main demands were:
– Don’t send Mehdi Kazemi back to Iran
– Iran’s homophobic laws violate human rights
– Give the victims of homophobic persecution the right to settle in the UK
Peter Tatchell told the rally:
“There needs to be a fundamental reform of the way the Home Office processes LGBTI asylum applications.
“The government is currently failing LGBTI refugees:
“Asylum staff and adjudicators receive race and gender awareness training but no training at all on sexual orientation issues. As a result, they often make stereotyped assumptions: that a feminine woman can’t be a lesbian or that a masculine man cannot be gay. They sometimes rule that someone who has been married must be faking their homosexuality.
“The government refuses to explicitly rule that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum. This signals to asylum staff and judges that claims by LGBTI people are not as worthy as those based on persecution because of a person’s ethnicity, gender, politics or faith.
“The Home Office country reports on homophobic and transphobic persecution are often partial, inaccurate and misleading. They consistently downplay the severity of victimisation suffered by LGBTI people in violently homophobic countries like Iran, Nigeria, Iraq, Uganda, Palestine, Algeria and Jamaica.
“Cuts in the funding of legal aid for asylum claims means that most asylum applicants – gay and straight – are unable to prepare an adequate submission at their asylum hearing. Most solicitors don’t get paid enough to procure the necessary witness statements, medical reports and other vital corroborative evidence.
“The Home Office has failed to take action to stamp out anti-gay abuse, threats and violence in UK asylum detention centres. Some LGBTI detainees report suffering homophobic or transphobic victimisation, and say they have failed to receive adequate protection or support from detention centre staff,” said Mr Tatchell.
Peter Tatchell, OutRage!
Photos of the protest can be viewed and used free of charge for publication from the OutRage! photo website:
Professional photos by photojournalist Marc Vallée can be viewed here: