An update to the ongoing campaign of torture and murder of suspected gay men conducted by some religious extremists in Iraq. Moqtada Sadr, the powerful radical Shiite cleric, says the "depravity" of homosexuality must be eradicated but warned the anti-gay violence must stop, according to a spokesman quoted by the AFP.
" 'The purpose of the meetings is to fight the depravity and to urge the community to reject this phenomenon,' said Sheikh Wadea al-Atabi, referring to a Thursday seminar attended by clerics, tribal leaders and police. 'The only remedy to stop it is through preaching and guidance. There is no other way to put an end to it,' he said, stressing that the movement could not resort to violence after a series of killings of gay men in Baghdad. 'Al-Sadr rejects this type of violence ... and anyone who commits violence (against gays) will not be considered as being one of us.' "
Recent, gruesome attacks against suspected gays are increasing in Shiite neighborhoods, especially in the sprawling slum of Sadr City, Baghdad. Shiite-affiliated Iraqi militia have been accused of killing gay men and suspected gay men with horrific anal superglue torture. Amnesty International wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last month urging government protection of homosexuals.
Sadr's motives are uncertain. But with the Iraqi government having limited authority and the United States unable to curtail the anti-gay violence—or indeed much of the other violence in Iraq—Moqtada Sadr is the only authority who can exert some influence. A radical Islamic cleric warning against anti-gay violence. Who would have thunk it?
Some Background ...
Iraqi Militia Killing Gay Men with Horrific Anal Torture? [R20]