David Weafer / California Center for Strategic Studies – 2006-09-21 22:52:21
US Abetting Gay Genocide in Iraq?
David Weafer / California Center for Strategic Studies
Right now our biggest area of concern is US-occupied Iraq. By most indications, US forces in Iraq have given their tacit approval to a religious leader’s decree calling for gay genocide.
FACT: Bush invaded Iraq supposedly to help establish a Western-style Democracy.
FACT: Western-style Democracies typically support LGBT human rights.
FACT: US occupation forces are the real “powers that be” in Iraq, continuing to call all the shots from behind the scenes when it comes to the Iraqi army and police.
FACT: Iraq’s supreme Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, has issued a “fatwa” (religious edict) on his Web site declaring homosexuality and lesbianism “forbidden” and calling for the eradication of gays and lesbians in the “worst, most severe way”.
FACT: Ali Hili, the coordinator of a group of exiled Iraqi gay men who monitor homophobic attacks inside Iraq, said the fatwa had instigated a “witch-hunt of lesbian and gay Iraqis, including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations”.
FACT: Iraq’s police forces — which continue to report in the chain of command to US commanders — are actively carrying out the ayatollah’s fatwa, seeking to exterminate all the LGBT people in Iraq.
With a wink and a nod from US forces, the LGBT genocide has begun. (additional evidence appears at the bottom of this message)
The victims of this genocide are real people, with names and faces, just like you and me. For example:
• Ahmed Khalil, a 14-year old gay boy in Baghdad’s al-Dura district, was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by Shiite fundamentalist police officers, according to his neighbors and international human rights investigators. His family was forced to flee, leaving behind all their possessions, in fear they too would be tortured and murdered.
• Hayder Faiek, a transsexual, was burnt to death by Shiite militias (the same forces that are now filling the ranks of the Iraqi police) in the crowded main street of Baghdad’s al-Karada district.
• An anonymous Iraqi lesbian torture victim has also begun speaking out, as reported by Doug Ireland in “Gay City News” (New York’s largest gay newspaper)
By some estimates, there are hundreds of LGBT murders by police and militias going unreported amongst the thousands of Iraqi murders every month.
This genocidal program has been reported in the British and international media, but America doesn’t even seem to notice — or care. Until now. Please help us stop this genocide. We need your help in order to stop this Iraqi genocide as quickly as possible.
The International Dignity & Diversity Project, founded in 2002, is dedicated to helping use US foreign policy and influence to put an end to LGBT human rights violations around the world.
Congressman Barney Frank — who headlined a fundraiser for the California Center for Strategic Studies (CCSS). earlier this year — calls our project: “An important effort to give prominence to international LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender] rights in the formulation of American foreign policy.”
The California Center for Strategic Studies, Box One, Ojai, CA 93024 ATTN: International Dignity & Diversity Project
• To learn more about our project, please visit our Web pages:
David Weafer is the Project Coordinator for the International Dignity & Diversity Project. He is Former President of Amnesty International, University of California, Santa Barbara Chapter.
The California Center for Strategic Studies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt educational institute as recognized by the US Internal Revenue Service, and is incorporated in the State of California.
US Fails to Criticize Iran’s Persecution of Sexual Minorities
Earlier this year, Iran executed two 16-year old boys, who had been imprisoned and tortured for two years prior to their deaths. [For a photograph of these two extraordinarily calm and brave boys just prior to their execution, please visit our web page dedicated to LGBT violence by governments: http://www.thecaliforniacenter.org/iddp_violence.php]
Despite these and other brutal executions of gay Iranians (and the fact that President Bush has never been shy about criticizing the Iranian fundamentalist government regarding other grievances), earlier this year the Bush administration took one giant leap backward for our country’s moral standing on the world stage when the White House supported an Iranian initiative to deny UN access to human rights groups representing sexual minorities.
In doing so, our government sided with a small group of democratically-challenged countries including Iran, Sudan, China, and Zimbabwe, and stood against the rest of the free world.
Every time prior to this, when such homophobic measures had come up, our nation has opposed, or at least abstained from the issue. No reason was given for the administration’s sudden decision to join this extremist coalition, in wanting to deny these groups the ability to investigate and report LGBT human rights violations.
Now some LGBT human rights investigators in Iraq are reportedly coming under pressure from US representatives to stop investigating and reporting LGBT human rights violations in US-occupied Iraq.
Coincidence? You be the judge.
[The following article also may be of interest]
“SISTANI ISSUES A FATWA TO KILL GAYS AND LESBIANS”
QOM, Iran–Lesbians and gay men “should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing” according to a March 15 fatwa, or legal pronouncement, issued by Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani. Sistani, who is headquartered in Iran, is the official “supreme religious authority” of the Shi‚a sect of Muslims there, and throughout neighboring Iraq.
The US-backed Iraqi government is dominated by Sistani followers, who consult regularly with him on political, moral and social issues. Sistani issued the fatwa when asked, “What is the judgment for sodomy and lesbianism?” Sistani replied, “Forbidden. Punished, in fact, killed. The people involved should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”
According to the British LGBT group OutRage, Sistani’s pronouncement will worsen conditions for gay, lesbian, and transgender Iraqis, who already face increasing persecution since the US invasion elevated the power of the Shi’a majority.
The Badr Corps militia, which is the armed wing of Sistani’s Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution, has been increasingly “witch hunting” lesbian and gay Iraqis, and using violence, beatings, kidnappings and assassinations to enforce Sistani’s interpretation of Shari‚ah, or divine Islamic law.
Similar to what is occurring in Iran, the Badr are using Internet chat rooms to entrap gay men.
Men who remain unmarried by age 30 or who are effeminate are put under surveillance by the Badr, on suspicion that they might be gay. The men are told that they have one month to change their ways and provide proof that they plan to marry a woman.
Those who don’t usually disappear and are typically found dead later, blindfolded, hands bound behind their back, and shot execution-style in the back of the head.
The Badr use similar tactics to intimidate and terrorize Sunnis, moderate Shi’a, trade unionists, women’s rights activists and secularists. The government headed by deposed Saddam Hussein was primarily composed of secular Sunnis.
State Dept. Includes Gays in Report
The US State Department issued its 2005 human rights report earlier this month, which detailed abuses in several countries, including Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Poland and Nigeria.
Iraq, however, is not included.
For this report, the State Department was asked for the US position on Sistani’s pronouncement specifically, and on the anti-gay human rights violations in Iran and Iraq in general. (The US has also been accused of denying asylum to Iranian GLBT refugees.)
State Dept. spokesperson Mary Thomas said they have no position on any of those matters, and no official with authority would talk to reporters regarding them. However, Thomas provided the department’s November, 2005 condemnation of the forced hormone and psychological “treatment” of gay men in the United Arab Emirates.
“We call on the government of the United Arab Emirates to immediately stop any ordered hormone and psychological treatment and to comply with the standards of international law,” it says.
That statement followed the arrests of a dozen male couples resulting from increased persecution of gay men in the Emirates.
House Members Protest to Emirates
On March 16, six members of the US House of Representatives led by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, who is gay, sent a letter to the United Arab Emirates protesting that eleven of the men were convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.
Frank was joined by:
• Florida Republican Ileana Ros- Lehtinen, who chairs the International Relations subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia,
• California Democrat Tom Lantos, the ranking member on the Committee on International Relations and a Holocaust survivor,
• New York Republican James Leach, a senior member of the International Relations Committee,
• New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, the ranking member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology, and
• New York Democrat Gary Ackerman, the ranking member on the International Relations Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia.
“We are very disappointed in these verdicts, and we think they contradict the claim in your letter of a respect for diversity in the UAE,” the letter states.
The six noted an earlier letter from UAE Ambassador Al Asri Al Dhahri to Frank in December. “Your letter also cites UAE adherence to ‘international principles and conventions concerning human rights which prohibit the persecution of anyone.’
“We must tell you that we are not aware of any international human rights conventions that condone state-sponsored animus against and persecution of adult men who are or who are believed to be gay.”
Thomas also said the State Department has no further statement on its vote in favor of an Iranian resolution denying United Nations non-governmental organization consultative status to the International Lesbian and Gay Association in January.
ILGA monitors and attempts to bring world attention to human rights abuses against GLBT people in countries including Iran, Iraq and the UAE. UN status would have given them much greater ability to complete their mission.