Wednesday, December 02, 2015


EXECUTED FOR BEING GAY

Islamic State group publicly
killing gays in Syria and Iraq


Gay man thrown of a building top by ISIS members in Iraq on Oct. 4, 2015
Gay man thrown of a building rooftop by ISIS members in Iraq on Oct. 4, 2015

REYHANLI, Turkey – Before a crowd of men on a street in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the masked Islamic State group judge read out the sentence against the two men convicted of homosexuality: They would be thrown to their deaths from the roof of the nearby Wael Hotel.
He asked one of the men if he was satisfied with the sentence. Death, the judge told him, would help cleanse him of his sin.
“I’d prefer it if you shoot me in the head,” 32-year-old Hawas Mallah replied helplessly. The second man, 21-year-old Mohammed Salameh, pleaded for a chance to repent, promising never to have sex with a man again, according to a witness among the onlookers that sunny July morning who gave The Associated Press a rare first-hand account.
“Take them and throw them off,” the judge ordered. Other masked extremists tied the men’s hands behind their backs and blindfolded them. They led them to the roof of the four-story hotel, according to the witness, who spoke in the Turkish city of Reyhanli on condition he be identified only by his first name, Omar, for fear of reprisals.
Notorious for their gruesome methods of killing, the Islamic State group reserves one of its most brutal for suspected homosexuals. Videos it has released show masked militants dangling men over the precipices of buildings by their legs to drop them head-first or tossing them over the edge. At least 36 men in Syria and Iraq have been killed by IS militants on charges of sodomy, according to the New York-based OutRight Action International, though its Middle East and North Africa co-ordinator, Hossein Alizadeh, said it was not possible to confirm the sexual orientation of the victims.
The fear of a horrific death among gay men under Islamic State rule is further compounded by their isolation in a deeply conservative society that largely shuns them.
Many Muslims consider homosexuality to be sinful. Gay men are haunted constantly by the possibility that someone, perhaps even a relative, will betray them to the militants – whether to curry favour with IS or simply out of hatred for their sexual orientation. Islamic State group fighters sometimes torture suspected homosexuals to reveal their friends’ names and search their laptops and mobile phones. Even among IS opponents, gays find little sympathy. Some in the public who might be shocked by other IS atrocities say killings of gays is justified. Syrian rebel factions have killed or abused gays as well.
A 26-year-old Syrian gay man told the AP that even two years after fleeing to Turkey, he wakes up shaken by nightmares that he is about to be hurled from a building. The man spoke on condition that he be identified as Daniel Halaby, the name he now uses in his activism tracking IS atrocities, and that the city in Turkey where he lives not be named for his own safety.
Halaby says a childhood friend who became radicalized and joined IS betrayed him to the militants in 2013, forcing him to flee his home city of Aleppo.
“He knew everything about me, such as being secular and gay. … I am sure he is the one who gave my name to Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
At that time, in mid-2013, IS had just started to spread from neighbouring Iraq into Syria. It didn’t yet hold the large stretches of territory across both countries that it would capture the next year. Instead, its fighters pushed into rebel-held areas in Syria and tried to dominate other rebels, often clashing with them for control and imposing the group’s strict law wherever they could.
In September 2013, IS fighters besieged the Aleppo neighbourhood where Halaby lived with his family, trying to wrest it from the rebel Free Syrian Army. The two sides negotiated over an end to the siege and, during the talks, IS gave the rebels a list of people they demanded be handed over to them. Halaby said he learned his name was on that list.
He quickly escaped to Turkey.
There, his bedroom is decorated with a flag of the Syrian opposition and a rainbow banner that covers an entire wall. His parents, who remain in Aleppo, refuse to talk to him because of his sexual orientation. When he watches videos of gays being killed, he said, “What breaks my heart most is that I feel helpless.”
Life for gays in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, was always hidden, Halaby said. When the secular-led peaceful protests erupted against President Bashar Assad in 2011, he said he quickly joined, sure they would lead to a democratic government “that will respect everyone no matter their religion, ethnicity, sect or sexuality.”
“We were very naive,” he said. “What happened was exactly the opposite.”
Subhi Nahas, a 28-year-old gay Syrian who now lives in San Francisco, said he fled because he feared his own father might turn him in to al-Qaida’s affiliate, the Nusra Front, which also has targeted homosexuals.
When his father learned he was gay, Nahas said he called him a shame to the family and beat him. Around the same time, in late 2013, Nusra fighters launched a crackdown on suspected gays in Nahas’ hometown of Maaret al-Numan, detaining 25 men and announcing through mosque loudspeakers that they would cleanse the town of homosexuals.
“With the problems between me and my father, I did not rule out that he might (hand me over),” he told the AP. 
ISIS militants throw man off 7-storey building for being
gay in Raqqa, Syria, in February 2015.
So he fled, first to Lebanon, then Turkey. But in Turkey, he said, he began getting death threats from a former school friend who joined the Islamic State group. Fearful that he wouldn’t be safe even in Turkey, he legally resettled to the United States in June.
In August, Nahas and a gay Iraqi man spoke about the suffering of homosexuals in their countries at the first-ever U.N. Security Council session spotlighting violence and discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
The stigma surrounding homosexuality makes it difficult to document IS killings and identify victims, rights groups say. Families and friends refuse to talk about victims. Gays under IS rule are terrified to speak, and most who flee abroad go into hiding.
The Islamic State group’s announcements are the main source of information, but the group often does not name the victims, perhaps in deference to their families, who could lash out in anger at having their names publicly linked to homosexuals.
“Such a barbaric show of murder leaves LGBT individuals in constant state of fear and would deprive them of a normal life that any human being is entitled to,” Alizadeh said. Widespread public hostility leaves the community even more vulnerable.
“They are violating God’s laws and doing something that is forbidden in Islam, so this is a legitimate punishment,” said Hajji Mohammed, a resident of the IS-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. There the group has thrown men suspected of being gay off the Insurance Building, a landmark about 10 stories high.

By employing the grisly method, the Islamic State group aims to show radicals that it is unflinchingly carrying out the most extreme strains in Islam – a sort of “ideological purity” the group boasts distinguishes it even from other militants. The punishment “will protect the Muslims from treading the same rotten course that the West has chosen to pursue,” IS proclaimed in its online English-language magazine Dabiq.
The Qur’an tells the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom – and sodomy in Arabic is known as “liwat,” based on Lot’s name.
Men having sex with each other should be punished, the Qur’an says, but it doesn’t say how – and it adds that they should be left alone if they repent. The death penalty instead comes from the Hadith, or accounts of the sayings of the prophet Muhammad. The accounts differ on the method of killing, and some accounts give lesser penalties in some circumstances.
The Islamic State group bases its punishment on one account in which Muhammad reportedly says gays “should be thrown from tremendous height then stoned.”
Before IS, the method was rarely used, though other militants have targeted homosexuals for death. During their rule in Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban had their own method: The victim would be put in a pit and a stone wall would be toppled on top of them.
A gay man is about to be thrown off a building rooftop by ISIS fighters in Iraq in August 2015.
A gay man is about to be thrown off a building rooftop
by ISIS fighters in Iraq in August 2015.
Most moderate Muslim clerics ignore the death penalty provisions, even as they fiercely denounce homosexuality. Across the Arab world, homosexuals have been arrested and sentenced to prison on charges linked to “debauchery” – and sometimes lashed in Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Omar, the man who watched the killings in Palmyra, said he remains shaken.
It began when IS militants blared on loudspeakers for men to gather. Then a black van pulled up outside the Wael Hotel, and Mallah and Salamah were brought out.
The first to be thrown off was Mallah. He was tied to a chair so he couldn’t resist, then pushed over the side.
He landed on his back, broken but still moving. A fighter shot him in the head.
Next was Salameh. He landed on his head and died immediately. Still, fighters stoned his body, Omar said.
The bodies were then hung up in Palmyra’s Freedom Square for two days, each with a placard on his chest: “He received the punishment for practicing the crime of Lot’s people.”
Source: The Associated Press, Bassem Mroue, Death Penalty News, December 2, 2015

Related articles on Death Penalty News (Warning: Graphic Content):


    What Does Islam Say About Being Gay?

    At the heart of the Islamic view on homosexuality lies the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is narrated in the Quran, too. According to scripture, the Prophet Lot had warned his people of “immorality,” for they did “approach men with desire, instead of women.” In return, the people warned by Lot tried to expel their prophet from the city, and even tried to sexually abuse the angels who came down to Lot in the guise of men. Consequently, God destroyed the people of Lot with a colossal natural disaster, only to save the prophet and a few fellow believers.
    The average conservative Muslim takes this story as a justification to stigmatize gays, but there is an important question that deserves consideration: Did the people of Lot receive divine punishment for being homosexual, or for attacking Lot and his heavenly guests?
    The even more significant nuance is that while the Quran narrates this divine punishment for Sodom and Gomorrah, it decrees no earthly punishment for homosexuality — unlike the Old Testament, which clearly decrees that homosexuals “are to be put to death.”
    Medieval Islamic thinkers inferred an earthly punishment by considering homosexuality as a form of adultery. But significant names among them, such as the eighth-century scholar Abu Hanifa, the founder of the popular Hanafi school of jurisprudence, argued that since a homosexual relationship did not produce offspring with an unknown father, it couldn’t be considered adultery.
    The real Islamic basis for punishing homosexuality is the hadiths, or sayings, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. (The same is true for punishments on apostasy, heresy, impiety, or “insults” of Islam: None come from the Quran; all are from certain hadiths.) But the hadiths were written down almost two centuries after the prophet lived, and their authenticity has been repeatedly questioned — as early as the ninth century by the scholar Imam Nesai — and they can be questioned anew today. Moreover, there is no record of the prophet actually having anyone punished for homosexuality.
    Such jurisprudential facts might help Muslims today to develop a more tolerant attitude toward gays, as some progressive Islamic thinkers in Turkey, such as Ihsan Eliacik, are encouraging. What is condemned in the story of Lot is not sexual orientation, according to Mr. Eliacik, but sexual aggression. People’s private lives are their own business, he argues, whereas the public Muslim stance should be to defend gays when they are persecuted or discriminated against — because Islam stands with the downtrodden.
    It is also worth recalling that the Ottoman Caliphate, which ruled the Sunni Muslim world for centuries and which the current Turkish government claims to emulate, was much more open-minded on this issue. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire had an extensive literature of homosexual romance, and an accepted social category of transvestites. The Ottoman sultans, arguably, were social liberals compared with the contemporary Islamists of Turkey, let alone the Arab World.
    Source: The New York Times, The Opinion Pages, Mustafa Akyol, July 28, 2015. Mustafa Akyol is the author of “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.”

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    2 comments:

    joseph said...

    Mourir d'aimer , amer souvenir qu'on croyait enfoui!

    JiEL said...

    Malgré la globalisation de la planète, il y a encore de ces «demeurés» qui naviguent encore et toujours au moyen âge.

    Des peuples qui malheureusement vivent encore sous le joug de ces esprits religieux rétrogrades qui ne respectent pas la VIE.

    Vivre et laissez vivre est un concept bien loin d'eux.

    My way or no way est leur devise.

    On est loin de LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ.