15 May 2006

Iraqi gay protesters win success

The Chavez experience has underlined the clarity of the lies in the mainstream media (although to be fair some of the reporting including the Metro and Guardian was OK), which means we have to press on with some alternative medias, here is a release from our friends in Outrage...on the on going struggle for sexual freedom in Iraq, be great if the Euston boys and girls were actively supporting these struggles rather trying to talk up Blair and Bush


Sistani removes 'death to gays' fatwa

Iraqi gay protesters win success

Sistani urged to condemn homophobic murders and scrap anti-lesbian
fatwa

Plea for fatwa against all vigilante murders

London – 15 May 2006

Iraqi gays are claiming success following the decision of Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to remove from his website a fatwa calling
for the killing of homosexuals in the "worst, most severe way
possible" (see the fatwa text below).

The removal on 10 May follows protests to Sistani by the London office
of the Iraqi gay rights organisation, Iraqi LGBT, which represents a
clandestine network of lesbian and gay activists inside Iraq's major
cities, including Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, Duhok and Basra.

Following two weeks of negotiations with Iraqi LGBT – UK, Sistani's
office agreed to remove the fatwa calling for the murder of gay men,
but has curiously refused to remove the fatwa urging punishment for
lesbianism.

Initially, Sistani's office had demanded that Iraqi LGBT-UK delete
their criticisms of Sistani from their website and apologise to the
Grand Ayatollah for questioning his religious authority.

Iraqi LGBT-UK refused. It issued a counter-demand that Sistani remove
his 'death to gays' fatwa from his website. After two weeks of
sometimes tense negotiations, Sistani's representatives in London and
Najaf agreed to drop the homophobic fatwa from his website – except
for the section calling for the punishment of lesbianism.

"We welcome the decision to remove the most murderously homophobic
part of Sistanti’s fatwa from his website," said gay Iraqi refugee,
Ali Hili, who heads the organisation Iraqi LGBT – UK (Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender). Mr Ali is also Middle East Affairs
spokesperson for the British LGBT rights movement, OutRage!, which
works closely with Iraqi LGBT – UK.

"This decision does not go far enough. The fatwa has been removed from
Sistani's website only. It has not been revoked. We want the entire
fatwa withdrawn, including the hateful denunciation calling for the
punishment of lesbians.

"Iraqi LGBT-UK urges Sistani to apologise and revoke his fatwa calling
for the murder of homosexuals, and to issue a new fatwa condemning all
vigilante violence, including vigilante attacks on gay and lesbian
people.

"We believe that Sistani's fatwa has encouraged and sanctioned the
current wave of execution-style assassinations of lesbians and gay
men. He owes gay Iraqis an apology. He owes all Iraqis an apology for
setting straight Iraqis against gay Iraqis.

"Endorsing the murder of other human beings is unIslamic. Our Muslim
faith is one of love, compassion, tolerance and mercy. Hatred and
prejudice have no legitimate place in our religion.

"Sistani's encouragement of homophobic violence provokes negative
views towards the Islamic faith and towards Muslim people.

"Iraqi LGBT-UK holds Sistani personally responsible for the murder of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iraqis. He gives the killers
theological sanction and encouragement,” said Mr Hili.

"We salute our gay Iraqi friends and allies. They have secured a very
significant victory,” added Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

"It is thanks to their tenacious efforts that Sistani has removed his
murderous fatwa from public display on his website," added Mr
Tatchell.

Background information follows below.

Further information: Ali Hili in London

Mobile phone: + 44 (0) 79 819 594 53

Email: iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk

Weblog: http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/


Background

"Evidence we have received from our underground gay contacts inside
Iraq shows rising levels of homophobic threats, intimidation and
violence by fundamentalist supporters of Sistani. These attacks have
intensified since Sistani issued his anti-gay fatwa," continued Ali
Hili.

"Grand Ayatollah Sistani is the spiritual leader of all Shia Muslims
in Iraq and around the world. He is also the spiritual leader of
Iraq’s main Islamic fundamentalist movement, the Supreme Council for
Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which plays a leading role in the
Iraqi government.

"SCIRI's armed wing is the Badr corps, which is responsible for much
of the sectarian and fundamentalist violence in Iraq today.

"The Badr Corps is a terrorist organisation and uses terrorist methods
against political, religious, sexual and ethnic dissidents. It is
behind much of the sectarian violence in Iraq today, including suicide
bombings, kidnappings and the assassination of Sunnis, moderate Shia,
trade unionists, women’s rights activists, gay people and
secularists.

"The government in Iraq consults regularly with Sistani on political,
social and moral issues. He wields huge influence over Iraqi
government policy and the over Iraqi Shia public opinion.

"Sistani is not even Iraqi. He is an Iranian national who has set
himself up as a religious leader in Iraq. He wants to impose an
Iranian-style theocracy on the Iraqi people.

"The British government paid for Sistani to have medical treatment in
the UK in 2004, and fetes him as a revered Muslim leader.

"Despite Badr's murderous record, the UK allows its political arm,
SCIRI, to have offices and fundraise in the UK.

"The Badr Corps has instituted a witch-hunt of lesbian and gay Iraqis
– including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations.

"Badr agents have a network of informers who, among other things,
target alleged 'immoral behaviour'. They kill gays, unveiled women,
prostitutes, people who sell or drink alcohol, and those who listen to
western music and wear western fashions.

"Badr militants are entrapping gay men via internet chat rooms. They
arrange a date, and then beat and kill the victim.

"Males who are unmarried by the age of 30 or 35 are placed under
surveillance on suspicion of being gay, as are effeminate men. They
will be investigated and warned to get married. Badr will typically
give them a month to change their ways. If they don't change their
behaviour, or if they fail to show evidence that they plan to get
married, they will be arrested, disappear and eventually be found
dead. The bodies are usually discovered with their hands bound behind
their back, blindfolds over their eyes, and a bullet wound in the back
of the head.

"Our sources inside Iraq report the murders of the following gay and
bisexual men. All the killings bear the hallmarks of the
execution-style murders for which the Badr organisation is notorious.

"These killings are just a few of the many we have been able to get
details about. They are the tip of an iceberg of religious-motivated
summary executions. Gay Iraqis are living in fear of discovery and
murder,” said Mr Hili.

Karim, aged 38, survived a hand grenade attack on his house in the
Al-Jameha district of Baghdad in 2004. The attack by members of the
Badr Corps, left him with severe facial disfigurement and shrapnel in
his body. Simultaneously, the Badr Corps murdered his partner, Ali, at
his house, also in the Al-Jameha district. They shot Ali as he tried
to escape.

Haydar Faiek, aged 40, a transsexual Iraqi, was beaten and burned to
death by Badr militias in the main street in the Al-Karada district of
Baghdad in September 2005.

Sarmad and Khalid were partners who lived in the Al-Jameha area of
Baghdad. Persons unknown revealed their same-sex relationship. They
were abducted by the Badr organisation in April 2005. Their bodies
were found two months later, in June, bound, blindfolded and shot in
the back of the head.

Naffeh, aged 45, disappeared in August 2005. His family were informed
that he was kidnapped by the Badr organisation. His body was found in
January 2006. He, too, had been subjected to an execution-style
killing.

Ammar, aged 27, was abducted and shot in back of the head in Baghdad
by suspected Badr militias in January 2006.

Bashar, an actor aged 34, who resides in Baghdad, has been forced to
go into hiding, after receiving death threats against him and his
family. Before he went underground, his house was raided several times
by the Badr Corps. Fortunately, he was not at home, otherwise he fears
he would have been kidnapped and killed.

A copy of Sistani's fatwa (prior to its removal), with translation,
follows below.

The text of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's fatwa, calling for the
killing of sodomites, as it was shown on his website before it was
removed on 10 May 2006.

It was on the Sistani website

www.sistani.org

It was under the section Istiftaaat. You went to letter L in Arabic,
and looked up the word Lewat which means (sodomy). See question 5.

Direct link:
http://www.sistani.org/html/ara/main/index-istifta.php?page=4&lang=ara&part=4

Q5:
What is the judgment for sodomy and lesbianism?
A5: Forbidden. Punished, in fact, killed. The people involved should
be killed in the worst, most severe way possible.

ENDS

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