6 Iraqi Gays Slain Amid Religious Clampdown

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2009 6:57 PM CDT
A pilgrim displays a poster of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as he marches to the holy city of Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2007.   (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – Iraqi authorities have recovered the bodies of six gay men slain since sermons condemned homosexuality at prayer meetings in Sadr City, Reuters reports. "They were sexual deviants," said a Sadr City official. "Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor." Homosexuality is more common in the city since government forces wrested control from the Mehdi Army over the past year, residents say.

Rumor has it one coffee shop attracts a gay clientele in Sadr City, where more men dress in a Western style because religious gangs no longer patrol the streets. While homosexuality can still garner a 7-year prison sentence in Iraq, not all residents side with the murderers. "If they've committed a crime, then there is the law," said a gay Iraqi man. "Killing is a big sin."