14-Year-Old Gay Iraqi Executed by Police
"The neighbour saw the police drag Ahmed out of the house and shoot him at
point-blank range, pumping two bullets into his head and several more bullets
into the rest of his body."
"It is believed Ahmed slept with men for
money to support his poverty-stricken family. They have since fled the area. "
The attack, like most other recent attacks against gay men in Iraq, has been blamed on the Badr Corps, the militant wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The attacks have been steadily increasing since Iranian Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani released a gay fatwa calling on gay people to be murdered, which I explore further in this post.
Last week, blogger Abu Kais discussed Al-Sistani in his blog, From Beirut to the Beltway. He states that Sistani is "a very knowledgeable Faqih who is against literal interpretations of the Tradition and the Qur’an. He is all for putting the reported sayings of the prophets in their political and historical contexts, and to study the biographies of the narrators, as well as compare the different versions of the texts. He has no problem consulting modern science, or even modern western law texts, on subjects he says the Qur’an does not mention...He also believes in revising and renewing Fiqh rules to go with the times, which is more than many Shia and Sunni scholars are willing to do"
Why, however, does Sistani not use this approach in his stances on homosexuality? I do not expect that he embrace the view of many liberal Muslims that Qu'ranic verses on Sodom and Gomorrah refer to punishment due to excess enjoyment of worldly pleasures, and not necessarily homosexuality alone. Or, if they indeed refer only to homosexuality, that they reflect a different, more intolerant time in the world, and are anachronistic today. I also do not expect that he differentiate between homosexual lust and homosexual love.
I understand why Sistani cannot logistically put homosexuality in the Qu'ran into historical context; many of his followers hearts are hardened and cannot accept such an interpretation.
I do, however, expect that he at least adopt a more tolerant outlook than calling for all gay men to be murdered.
Take into account this quote from Sura 15 of the Qur'an, known as The Women:
"If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four
(reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine
them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other)
way. If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they
repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful."
These verses certainly do not support Sistani's view that gay people should be "killed in the worst, most severe way of killing".
Sistani is an amazing man: so modern in many respects, but so backward in this one, which causes so many deaths.