Spencer: Complicity in Iran’s Anti-Gay Jihad

In FrontPage’s featured article this morning, I ask: Why was Britain ready to send a young man to certain death in Iran? And why didn’t Leftists protest?

The British government announced Thursday that it was ending efforts to deport Mehdi Kazemi, a 19-year-old Iranian who has been studying in Britain — a move that should be applauded by human rights activists everywhere. Had he been forced to return to Iran, Kazemi would almost certainly have been executed there. Roger Roberts, one of eight members of the House of Lords who petitioned British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to allow Kazemi to stay in Britain, declared: “There is no doubt that he will be persecuted and possibly face state-sanctioned murder if he is forced to return.”

This is because, while in Britain in 2005, Kazemi learned that his male lover back in Iran had been hanged for the crime of sodomy. He applied for asylum in Britain, was turned down, went to the Netherlands and applied for asylum again, and was turned down again.

The Dutch denied Kazemi’s application because European Union regulations allow someone to apply for asylum in only one EU country. But why did Britain initially turn him down also? Because according to British authorities, Iran does not persecute homosexuals.

According to The Independent, “The Home Office’s own guidance issued to immigration officers concedes that Iran executes homosexual men but, unaccountably, rejects the claim that there is a systematic repression of gay men and lesbians.” Maybe British officials have subscribed to the view of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who famously declared at Columbia University last year: “We don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. We don’t have this phenomenon; I don’t know who’s told you we have it.”

In reality, homosexuality has often been punished with death in Iran. According to the Iranian gay and lesbian rights group Homan, the Iranian government has put to death an estimated 4,000 homosexuals since 1980. Scott Long, director of the Human Rights Watch Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program, notes that Iranians who are suspected of being gay commonly face torture. Hossein Alizadeh of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has declared that in Iran gays live with “constant fear of execution and persecution and also social stigma associated with homosexuality.” On July 19, 2005, when two teenage boys, Mahmoud Asgari, 14, and Ayaz Marhoni, 16, were hanged in a particularly brutal manner in Iran for the crime of homosexual activity. Although Iranian officials insisted that the death sentence was for the rape of a third boy, the National Council of Resistance of Iran has said otherwise. But Asgari and Marhoni were not alone.

Of all this Mehdi Kazemi is well aware. In his asylum application in Britain, he wrote: “The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me”¦.If I return to Iran I will be arrested and executed like [my boyfriend]. Since this incident”¦I have been so scared.”

Yet despite all this, the Left in America, for all its vaunted concern for gay rights, remains largely silent about Iran. Has The Nation, or Katha Pollitt, rushed to Kazemi’s aid? No — not a word about Kazemi has appeared in The Nation. And The Nation is not alone. Although Columbia students did react derisively to Ahmadinejad’s denial that there were homosexuals in Iran, the violent persecution of gays in Iran was well-known in the West long before the President of Iran’s visit there — and yet he was still welcomed enthusiastically by students who would have lustily reviled Pat Robertson or Franklin Graham, neither of whom has ever called for anything remotely close to the execution of gays, had either of them dared to set foot on campus. And a delegation of Columbia professors, according to Tehran’s Mehr News Agency, even planned a trip to Iran in order to present an official apology to Ahmadinejad for the way he was treated by Columbia President Lee Bollinger when he visited the university.

Why did these professors, no doubt all confirmed and proud Leftists, want Columbia to be nice to a government that executes gays?

What’s more, Britain was not alone in its readiness, before the House of Lords petition and a public outcry compelled them to reconsider, to feed the Iranian killing machines. New Zealand authorities last week ordered Bahareh Moradi, a convert to Christianity, to return to Iran within two weeks. They doubted that her conversion to Christianity was genuine; the pastor at her church, however, vouched for her: “She’s a Christian and her life is in danger if she goes back.” Islamic law forbids Muslims to leave Islam, on penalty of death — in accord with Muhammad’s words, “If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.–

In contrast, at the end of February the European court of human rights ruled that Italy could not send convicted jihad terrorist Nassim Saadi back to Tunisia, on the grounds that he would be face torture there. Can there be no such consideration for Mehdi Kazemi? Or is such protection afforded only to those dedicated to the destruction of the West? Bruce Bawer, author of the indelible chronicle of Europe’s suicide, While Europe Slept, remarked to me about the curious inconsistency of the British government as revealed by the Kazemi case:

The Queen knighted Iqbal Sacranie, who cheered the Rushdie fatwa; London mayor Ken Livingstone honored the appalling terrorist defender Yusuf al-Qaradawi; and the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a parallel system of sharia law in the U.K. Forty to sixty percent of Muslims in Britain tell pollsters they want sharia in that country, and every day the British government welcomes more immigrants who agree with them. Britain doles out massive amounts of financial support to schools that teach jihad, imams who preach it, and ordinary believers who support it; and it keeps accommodating sharia in various ways, most recently by deciding to recognize Muslim polygamy for the purposes of calculating welfare payments.

But this same government has now turned down an asylum request from somebody who — far from being a supporter of sharia and jihad — would be one immigrant from the Muslim world who would be a 100% guaranteed staunch believer in the freedoms for which Britons, in their finest hour, stood up alone against the Nazis. For all the irrational, despicable, and self-destructive acts of dhimmitude Her Majesty”s Government has committed in recent years, few things that it has done have demonstrated its utter moral blindness in the face of Islam more starkly than its refusal to offer sanctuary to Mehdi Kazemi.

Indeed. And, as Bahareh Moradi’s case illustrates, that “utter moral blindness in the face of Islam” is not found in Britain alone. Mehdi Kazemi may be safe, but there are many other Mehdi Kazemis who are not safe. It is good that Kazemi can stay in Britain for now, but there is still no general outcry in Britain or in the West in general against human rights abuses in Iran, and still no consistent effort to stand against them. There is still no recognition on the Left of its outrageous double standards, as it focuses its energy on combating conservative Christianity”s opposition to gay marriage while saying nothing about Islam’s death penalty for homosexuals.

How many more people will the mullahs murder before the West ends its indifference?

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  1. says

    I am very pleased to learn that Mehdi Kazemi will be allowed to remain in Britain. This is one example of a proper use of the Asylum laws.

    However, it sets a precedent. I am inclined to think that the British government should require those who flee from the Sharia Law against homosexual practice, should be accepted only on the strict condition that they do not subsequently form any heterosexual relationship and – if they do – they should be immediately deported to the country from whence they fled. We now face the prospect of thousands, if not millions of heterosexual Iranians seeking entry to Britain on the grounds of ‘homophobic persecution’ only to be ‘cured’ on their arrival on these shores.

    We might make a law to prevent this abuse. However, the Human Rights Act absolutely guarantees a right to family life. So we could not prevent a change in orientation after all. Pity.

  2. says

    “But this same government has now turned down an asylum request from somebody who – far from being a supporter of sharia and jihad – would be one immigrant from the Muslim world who would be a 100% guaranteed staunch believer in the freedoms for which Britons, in their finest hour, stood up alone against the Nazis.”
    -from the article

    Everything you say is true Robert, but it is also true that people have lied about torture in order to gain asylum. They enter the country for one reason and then try to remain, using the threat of torture as their tool.
    This man seems to be an innocent but it also seems that he is reaping the fruits of decades of taqiyya and jihad against the West. That’s what happens when a religion teaches people to lie and that lying is good. It makes it hard to know when they’re telling the truth.
    How many of the staunchest jihadists in Britain were granted asylum on the grounds that they faced torture in their native country? The British might have a method to their madness. After having been burned so many times before, maybe they fear setting a precedent. What is the danger that jihadists who previously would have been denied access will be given asylum if they just say they’re gay, whether or not they are? Would they have any reason to fear a mass migration of truly peaceful Muslims using Britain’s asylum policy to gain access when all other avenues have been closed?

  3. says

    I actually had a discussion about this case with a gay relative of mine recently. I should mention that this relative is genuinely concerned about human rights issues, and has in fact devoted her life to standing up for marginalised groups and to helping people who are in difficult situations. She does more to help others in a day or two than most people do in a lifetime! However, she has been so conditioned to view all cultures and religions as equal, that she could not bring herself to admit that the persecution to which gays (not to mention other groups) in Islamic countries are subjected is much, much worse than the discrimination that some still face in the west. (None of this is to say that the situation for gays in the west is always perfect, but at least society as a whole is generally accepting of their lifestyles and there are laws to protect their safety.)

    I think that the issue is that most gays in the west–in fact, most westerners in general–are mostly unaware of the situation. My relative, in fact, had never heard of Mehdi Kazemi, or Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni. They have been educated to believe that western countries–which certainly have had and still have their share of problems–are racist, prejudiced, greedy, imperialist societies which do not respect human rights and are the perpetrators of all of the injustice that exists or has ever existed in the world. The overwhelming majority of them have never visited an Islamic country nor had any experience with sharia law, they know nothing of Islam, nothing of the day-to-day life of gays or other marginalised groups in Islamic societies. Understandably, the relative freedoms and protections of western society are the only experiences that they can conceive of.

    That said, things like publicly hanging gays, killing apostates and mistreating women, etc… are very hard for westerners to rationalise and to justify. I think that as more and more people become aware of this, though sites like Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch, that we will start to see more and more changes of opinion and changes of focus.

  4. says

    We now face the prospect of thousands, if not millions of heterosexual Iranians seeking entry to Britain on the grounds of ‘homophobic persecution’ only to be ‘cured’ on their arrival on these shores.


    Not just Iran. Don’t most Muslim countries have such laws? Maybe they don’t hang people but torture is not unknown. Won’t Britain face at least tens of thousands of Muslims looking to escape to the West and using sexual orientation as their means?

  5. says

    How many more people will the mullahs murder before the West ends its indifference?

    How many more people will the mullahs murder before Iranians stand up for themselves?

  6. says

    PMK – The former is more likely than the latter. There is a saying in the east – “Big fish eat little fish. So little fish have to be careful.” Generations have lived and died under the yoke of oppression, to the Iranians this is the way it has always been and will always be.

  7. says

    He should have been deported. Muslims do not belong in Western lands.

    Unless he was willing to renounce islam and allah, then no mercy should have been shown.

    Allah is not God.
    Mohammed was not a good man.
    Islam is not a religion.
    Muslims are not citizens (not even the gay ones).

  8. says

    Robert, do you want to know why there is this curious inconsistency?

    It’s because Britain IS ALREADY AN ISLAMIC NATION. That’s why they allow in thousands of muslims, allow terrorist Imams to preach jihad, and try to prevent an Iranian gay man from staying in Britain.

    Please connect the dots everyone.

  9. says

    Thank you for posting this, Robert. This story has been in the gay press for months. I’ve been reluctant to discuss it here because I didn’t want a certain harridan to snarl that I was playing the victim card.

    Scott Long and Doug Ireland are frequently shouted down at gay forums with accusations of “orientalism”. I intend to be there to defend them next time they appear in NYC.

    PMK: You really gotta be kidding about the young man not forming friendships with heterosexuals! How do you expect him to get a job?

  10. says

    If this is the way it must be then I hope the Iranians aren’t looking with longing toward the West for liberation. Some Iranian ex-pats try to tell us the Iranians love America and wish we would help them. As long as they accept the rule of the mullahs, who tell them each and every day that America is evil, then oppression will be their lot. It’s their choice.
    They might have to wait at least a few more decades, long enough for those of us who lived through 1979 and the subsequent 444 days of hostages to pass from the scene.

  11. says

    You misunderstood. Personal relationships aren’t the issue. The question is: will heterosexuals claim to be gay long enough to gain asylum and then go on about their lives as heterosexuals?

  12. says

    You might have been thinking of LondonBorn&Bred. I quoted his comment but I didn’t make that clear. My concern is how this precedent will be applied and what it means for many people seeking to emigrate. Does it bother you that people might lie about their sexual orientation just long enough to gain asylum?

  13. says

    PMK-In all respect, I think that the Iranians can and will eventually change their political system without the help of a botched foreign invasion. The Iranian people (not the ruling class, but the people-especially the young people) are the most secular and pro-Western Muslim population in the middle east, but that doesn’t mean that they want or need America’s “help.”

  14. says

    I feel compassion for gay Muslim men, and gay and straight Muslim women, but I think the solution is to pressure Iran and the other Islamic nations that implement sharia (ie. death sentence for homosexuals) to stop killing their homosexuals, and stop raping their prepubescent girls.

    I don’t think it’s our responsibility to let Muslims into our country just because other Muslims want to kill them. If that’s our standard, then we’ll have to let Shi’a in because Sunni’s kill them regularly. Likewise, we’ll have to let the Sunni’s in, because the Shi’a kill them.

    We’ll have to allow abused Muslim wives to come here to escape their abusive husbands, and of course then we couldn’t be responsible for splitting up their family, so the husband can come too to be reunited.

    Instead of inviting them here to continue their battles here, we should first be pointing out how violent and intolerant Islam is, and secondly putting whatever pressure we can on them to change.

  15. says

    I’ll cheer the Iranian people when they decide to join the West. Until then, I’m reserving judgment on just how “secular and pro-Western” the young people are. They want what they don’t have.
    Iranians are the ones who keep saying we have to help them, not me. Amil Imani wants Americans to render financial support to Iranian opposition groups.

    “It is important that this great nation stays the course, enlists its power in support of freedom-loving Iranians to topple the ruling Islamofascits who are bent on wreaking death and destruction of the world.”

    In the same article he says:
    “The Iranian people themselves are fully capable and are determined to remove the cancer of Islamism from their country.”

    So let them do it. The world is watching. Their parents overthrew the shah without outside help. This new generation can get rid of the mullahs as well. It’s their choice, if they want it. It’s not yet clear to me that they do. They just want the government off their backs. Everything else is fine by them.


  16. says

    The first criteria for asylum to any Western nation should be that they be non-Muslim. If an asylum seeker applies for asylum on the baisis of sexual orientation alone, but continues in the faith that wants to kill him, then that is his choice. If he isn’t prepared to renounce the religion that wants to kill him, and others like him, then he is continuing to lend his moral support to Islam’s immoral laws.

    If a Muslim homosexual is determined to continue in the belief that Mohammad is a Prophet, and that Islam is the final revealed religion of God, then he gives his tacit approval to its devine authority to mandate his own execution, and to oppress others for other offenses.

    You can’t make the case that you’re being treated unjustly, , and, at the same time, acknowledge your oppressors devine authority to be unjust.

    Anyone fleeing an Islamic country to escape persecution, should be required to renounce the whole rotten system they’re tring to escape from.

  17. says

    For all the irrational, despicable, and self-destructive acts of dhimmitude Her Majesty’s Government has committed in recent years, few things that it has done have demonstrated its utter moral blindness in the face of Islam more starkly than its refusal to offer sanctuary to Mehdi Kazemi.

    When I read the above statement, I was reminded of Elian Gonzalez, and of how President Clinton shipped him back to Communist Cuba at the apparent demand of King Castro.

  18. says

    PMK-Well, I don’t want to say too much about the situation in Iran, because although I’m very interested in the country and I have read and studied a lot about it, I’m not Iranian nor have I ever even visited the country, so my humble opinion may not be worth much. At any rate, it seems to me that Iranians have chosen to try to change things gradually, working within the system in order to change it, rather than through another revolution. (After all, look at what the end result of that was…a situation even worse than under the Pahlavis.) From what I can see, the society has already changed tremendously since the early 1980s, and will probably continue to change, in the same direction, even if the change is slow and there are occasional setbacks.

    Personally, I distrust the motives of a large number of Iranian expats who are urging the US to support the opposition. Many of them strike me as being Ahmed Chalabi types – they have completely lost touch with Iran and are hoping that by allying themselves with the US, they can be installed (or re-installed) to some powerful position that they can profit from.

  19. says

    Neo-cons for Gays, for some reason. does not fit the Politically correct template. At least not in the way other supporters would expect.

    To think the Lofty Left is so easily beat on such a core issue of theirs is quite revealing.

  20. says

    I also distrust the Iranian Americans who are calling for US action. Some have ulterior motives. Many are quite sincere but that doesn’t make them right.

    The Iranians are the only ones who can do this. We can’t do it for them and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be pressured or shamed into doing so. In addition, we cannot separate the people from their government. They are the only ones who can.
    Iranians are a proud, nationalistic people with a long history. They have to make their own choices and they have to be prepared to live with the consequences of letting this regime continue unhindered. The risk they take by waiting is that events might pass them by.
    They can say how pro-Western they are until the cows come home. Actions speak louder than words.

  21. says

    LondonBorn&Bred wrote:

    We now face the prospect of thousands, if not millions of heterosexual Iranians seeking entry to Britain on the grounds of ‘homophobic persecution’ only to be ‘cured’ on their arrival on these shores.

    I can understand your concern–certainly all asylum cases should be carefully investigated. Yet there is such stigma against homosexuality in Islam that I very much doubt that many Muslims would make such a claim falsely.

    Even if they had no personal issues with claiming to be gay, I am sure they would be leery lest they were denied asylum and had to return to a Muslim nation knowing that their application for asylum as a homosexual might well come to light. It seems much more likely in the case of a genuinely gay man such as Mehdi Kazimi, who was already under great threat from Iran because of the arrest, probable torture, and execution of his lover.

    I hope.Kazimi is safe. You have to wonder how many other people fear for their lives should they ever have to return to the country of their birth.

  22. says

    Stop accepting Muslims into the West and there will be no such problems later with deporting them.

    Islam brings no good with it.

    And why is this guy still a “Muslim” if his own “religion” sentences him to death for his sexuality?

    Is he that hopelessly stupid?

    Not much of a gain for our side in such a case.

  23. says

    PMK & margheri –

    The author Robert A. Heinlein said it best –

    “No man (woman) is free, save he (she) free himself (herself).”

    Democracy will not simply spring up in cultures which do not value it. Democracy is a new form of governance, unknown in the non-Western world. Sometimes, when you open the door on a bird’s cage, it stays in the cage.

  24. says

    Given that war is taqiyya, why shouldn’t you expect terrorists to use lie about their sexual orientation to gain entrance? They wouldn’t have any reason to fear what happens when they go home. Others knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. Their Islamic credentials are secured the first day they arrive in the mosque in the West.

  25. says

    The madness of the left intelligentsia is that they make it their business to champion those who conservative white men dislike most.

    Some of this championing was once worthwhile, and against genuine unfair prejudice, such as the black civil rights movement.

    However, now conservative white men dislike conservative Islam, because it is arrogant, supremacist, wishes to create a global caliphate, wishes to destroy what freedom of religion we have, wishes to destroy freedom of thought, and persecutes gays and women.

    In following their predictable pattern of standing up for those who white conservative men hate, the left have fallen into the trap of supporting those who wish to destroy everything that the left once held dear.

    Only by understanding this can one understand why leftists would send a homosexual man back to a country which would hang him for being homosexual.