One can’t help but wonder if it is a true lack of capacity, or a lack of political will. More on this story. “Police unable to prevent rising violence against gays, Emo youths in Iraq,” by Lara Jakes for the Associated Press, March 11:
BAGHDAD – Young people who identify themselves as so-called Emos are being brutally killed at an alarming rate in Iraq, where militias have distributed hit lists of victims and security forces say they are unable to stop crimes against the subculture that is widely perceived in Iraq as being gay.
Officials and human rights groups estimated as many as 58 Iraqis who are either gay or believed to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks alone “” forecasting what experts fear is a return to the rampant hate crimes against homosexuals in 2009. This year, eyewitnesses and human rights groups say some of the victims have been bludgeoned to death by militiamen smashing in their skulls with heavy cement blocks.
A recent list distributed by militants in Baghdad’s Shiite Sadr City neighbourhood gives the names or nicknames of 33 people and their home addresses. At the top of the paper are a drawing of two handguns flanking a Quranic greeting that extolls God as merciful and compassionate.
Then follows a chilling warning.
“We warn in the strongest terms to every male and female debauchee,” the Shiite militia hit list says. “If you do not stop this dirty act within four days, then the punishment of God will fall on you at the hands of Mujahideen.”
All but one of the targets are men. […]
An Interior Ministry official said 58 young people have been killed across Iraq in recent weeks by unidentified gangs who accused them of being, as he described it, Emo. Sixteen were killed in Sadr City alone, security and political officials there said. Nine of the men were killed by bludgeoning, and seven were shot. No arrests have been made.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity, as did many of the people interviewed for this article, in fear of violent reprisals.
The Qur’an specifically forbids homosexuality, and Islamic militias in Iraq long have targeted gays in what they term “honour killings” to preserve the religious idea that families should be led by a husband and a wife [and a wife, and a wife, and a wife – ed.]. Those who do not abide by this belief are issued death sentences by the militias, according to the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, a human rights watchdog group. The same militias target women who have extramarital affairs.
“There is a strong wave of campaigns by clerics against homosexuals now,” said Ali al-Hilli, chairman of Iraqi LGBT, a human rights group based in London that provides two safe houses in Iraq for gays. “The police do not provide protection for them.”
He said an estimated 750 gay Iraqis have been killed because of their sexual orientation since 2006.
Iraqi lawmaker Khalid Shwani, a Kurd, said targeting Emos because of their alternative lifestyles reflects an a growing intolerance of Iraqis’ civil rights.
“Those people are free to choose what they wear, or to believe in, or how they choose their clothes or the way they think,” Shwani said. He called on parliament to address the issue.
“The Emo of today could be any person tomorrow who tries to follow a specific way of living,” he said. […]
An August 2011 letter from the Education Ministry urges schools to crack down on what it considered abhorrent behaviour, including allowing camera phones in school “because students would use it for dirty movies,” says the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Similarly, it prohibited students from leaving their classes during school hours “for any reason, because they might gather in the nearby cafes or coffee shops to practice dirty activities.”
The letter attributed the social atrocities to “Emo, which is an infiltrated phenomenon in our society began to appear in some of our schools.”
Iraqi police squads who are specifically assigned to protect social minorities say they are almost powerless to stop the threats against gays and Emos. One officer assigned to the so-called social abuse squads said police are meeting with clerics to ask for help in urging the public against killing what he described as “the Emo or the vampires or Satan worshippers.”…