Punishing Gays in Islam: ‘Rectums are glued shut, they are force-fed petrol and set alight’
From the Muslim Issue:
On a bright afternoon in late March, an 18-year-old named Fadi stood in a friend’s clothing store in Baghdad checking out the new merchandise. A worker in a neighboring store walked into the boutique with a newspaper in his hand and shared a story he had just read. It was about “sexual deviants,” he said.
Gay men’s rectums had been glued shut, and they had been force-fed laxatives and water until their insides exploded. They had been found dead on the street.
That evening Fadi met up with his three closest friends—Ahmed, Mazen, and Namir—in a coffee shop called the Shisha café in the Karada district of Baghdad. Karada is a mixed Shia-Christian neighborhood that has a more relaxed, cosmopolitan feel than many parts of the Iraqi capital.
Fadi and his friends had been meeting there nearly every evening for a year, Fadi coming from his job cleaning toilets for Americans in the Green Zone and the three others from college.
The coffee shop was relatively new and attracted a young crowd. The walls were colored in solid blocks of orange, green, and blue, the glass-topped tables painted red and black. It was the closest thing to hip that Baghdad had to offer.
For Fadi and his three friends, who secretly referred to themselves as the 4 Cats, after a Pussycat Dolls–like Lebanese group, the Shisha was a refuge from the hostile, often violent anti-gay climate that they had grown up with in Iraq.
Fadi has a warm, irrepressible laugh; his eyes narrow under thick black eyebrows whenever someone tells a joke. He told his friends about the newspaper story, but insisted it couldn’t be true.
“They’re doing this to frighten us,” he said. In recent weeks, with rumors of gay death squads and torture on the rise, the four friends had lowered their profile. They no longer went to the Shisha every night.
“We’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Fadi said, on the last night they met there.
On April 4, at about 8 p.m., Fadi’s cell phone rang. It was Mazen’s brother. “Mazen and Namir have been killed,” he said.
The maimed bodies of the two friends had been discovered together in the vast Shia district of Baghdad named Sadr City, which is a stronghold of the Mahdi Army, a powerful Shia militia.
Mazen had had his pectoral muscles cut off. There were two drill holes in Namir’s left leg, below the knee. Both had been shot in the head, apparently from close range.