Of the 76 countries that persecute people for their sexual orientation, Iran will let an Islamic judge put them to death; Mauritania and Yemen will kill by public stoning; Saudi Arabia and parts of Nigeria and Somalia will do it based on their interpretation of Sharia law; Sudan will kill their citizens; and Iraq will sit passively as rogue militias hunt, torture and kill LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) persons.
If we have learned anything from all this brouhaha surrounding Park51, it’s that there is a need to elevate the voices of moderate Muslim thinkers. These eight countries offer eight reasons that emphasize the importance of these efforts. In many societies with Muslim majorities, there is a violent attitude towards homosexuals that goes far beyond general condemnation into promoting coercive laws that imprison and kill.
When I spoke this August with Ali Hili, an exiled Muslim from Iraq now living in London, it was evident that he has seen and heard it all when it comes to persecution of homosexuals. Ali explained how the death of one of his friends who was doused in gasoline and burned alive prompted him to advocate for Iraq’s gay community through an organization that he co-founded, called Iraqi LGBT.
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