Friday, May 05, 2006

Silence equals death

On the website of the Human Rights Campaign -- "America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality" -- there's plenty of talk about the Federal Marriage Amendment, and the series finale of "Will and Grace." Something about Mother's Day, too.

Meanwhile ...

Ahmed Khalil was shot at point-blank range after being accosted by men in police uniforms, according to his neighbours in the al-Dura area of Baghdad... Ali Hili, the co-ordinator 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". "Young Ahmed was a victim of poverty," he said. "He was summarily executed, apparently by fundamentalist elements in the Iraqi police."

Khalil was 14.

And who's behind this rise of violence against gays in Iraq? One of our allies.

Human rights groups are particularly concerned that the Sadr and Badr militias, both Shia, have stepped up their attacks on the gay community after a string of religious rulings, since the US-led invasion, calling for the eradication of homosexuals. Grand Ayatollah Sistani recently issued a fatwa on his website calling for the execution of gays in the "worst, most severe way".

Bush needs Sistani, so don't expect to hear much from the administration about this. But attention must be paid, and you would think our major queer lobbying groups would take the lead. Instead, HRC is busy organizing viewing parties for the gay "Amos and Andy."

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