Listen over fiender er lang for de religiøse i Irak. Helt i toppen står homofile. Etter at stor-ayatollah Ali al-Sistani utstedte en fatwa og sa de måtte drepes på den verst tenkelige måte, har mange tatt ham på ordet, skriver The Times.
Jakten på og likvideringen av homofile har skremt mange. Homofile lures til stevnemøter via chattekanaler, og blir drept når de møter opp.
Ali Hili, who ran a gay nightclub in Baghdad but fled to Britain this year after receiving death threats, says that he knows of more than 40 men murdered in recent months. «Badr militants used chatrooms to lure them to a rendezvous and then kill them,» he said.
He described a co-ordinated attack on one couple: 38-year-old Karim survived a hand- grenade attack on his home in al-Jameha, but his partner, Ali, was shot dead when he tried to flee his house near by.
Haydar Faiek, 40, a transsexual, was beaten and burnt to death last September in Karrada’s main street. Ammar, 27, was abducted and shot in the head in January.
Meanwhile, a 34-year-old theatre actor, who would only give his name as Bashar, has gone into hiding after a death threat. Two close members of his family have been murdered by militants, who say they will carry on killing his relatives until he turns himself in.
Mr Hili claims that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered spiritual figure in Iraq, provoked the murders by saying on his website in April last year that homosexuals should be killed in the «worst, most severe way».
e said: «Al-Sistani gave the militias a theological sanction to murder gays.» He added that the ayatollah was forced to lift the fatwa against gays following protests, but refused to remove the reference to the punishment for lesbians.
«These people are taking Iraq back to the Dark Ages,» added Mr Hili, 33.
He said: «We could never envisage this happening when Saddam was overthrown. I had no love for the former President, but his regime never persecuted the gay community.»
Selv om homofile utgjør en liten minoritet, er det summen av samfunnsfiender som skremmer folk.
What scares the city’s residents is how the fanatics’ list of enemies is growing. It includes girls who refuse to cover their hair, boys who wear theirs too long, booksellers, liberal professors and prostitutes. Three shops known to sell alcohol were bombed yesterday in the Karrada shopping district.
In this atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation, the militias have made no secret of their hatred of homosexuals.