Gays in Iraq fear for their lives

Here's a worrying development from Iraq. The fundamentalist nutbars who are currently grabbing power over there have turned on that most traditional of religious targets - homosexuals:

Islam considers homosexuality sinful. A website published in the name of Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shia cleric, says gays should be put to death.

"Those who commit sodomy must be killed in the harshest way," says a section of the website dealing with questions of morality.

Gays and lesbians are being executed all over the place, often being turned in by friends and family:

"Hussein is 32 and lives in Baghdad with his brother, sister-in-law and nieces.

He says his effeminate appearance and demeanour make him stand out and attract hostility.

'My brother's friends told him: 'In the current chaos you could get away with killing your brother without retribution and get rid of this shame,'' Hussein said, after agreeing to speak to the BBC only if his real name was not used.

The article ends with the now familiar cry:

"Saddam was a tyrant, but at least we had more freedom then," said Hussein. "Nowadays, gay men are just killed for no reason."

One of the things that made Iraq unusual was that Saddam Hussein kept the fundamentalist nutbars on a short leash, which, of course, is why they are grabbing power as fast as they can right now.

This is not the first time we've heard people decrying the removal of a man who - let's face it - is never going to grace the pages of "1,000 men I'd like to have controlling my country" as written by any rational human.

Makes you wonder just how bad the new powers-that-be in Iraq are, if ordinary citizens are pining for the "good old days" of Saddam Hussein.

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