Extremists, Militias Target Gays in Iraq

Officials, human rights groups dispute extent of escalating violence
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2007 4:56 PM CDT
Iraqi Shiites shout slogans as they attend the weekly Friday...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Gays in Iraq are the targets of increasing violence by militias, police, and religious extremists, a largely unreported consequence of the 2003 US invasion. A fatwa is in place, reports the Chicago Tribune, and gays are fighting to emigrate to Sweden, Germany, and other countries. Recent reports by the UN and the US State Department have documented the brutality.

A January UN report described "religious courts, supervised by clerics, where homosexuals allegedly would be 'tried,' 'sentenced' to death and then executed." Iraqi leaders deny the allegations, saying sectarian violence affects all Iraqis, regardless of sexual orientation. Middle East experts say such crimes may not be state-sanctioned. Says a UN spokesman: "This is a cultural issue."