Following the resignation of the cleric in August amid impasses over the formation of government, hundreds of his loyalists stormed the capital’s government buildings and started clashes that led to at least 30 deaths.
After Friday’s prayer session, thousands of al-Sadr supporters gathered in front of mosques all over the country to sign a promise to “stand against homosexuality” and “demand the abolition of the homosexuality legislation.”
It was unclear which law the pledge was referring too. While Iraq does not have any law that explicitly criminalizes homosexuality, it does have one outlawing “immodest acts”, which Human Rights Watch describes as a “vague provision that could be used in order to target sexual or gender minorities.”
A supporter of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr signs a pledge to stand against homosexuality or LGBTQ, outside a mosque in Kufa, Iraq, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)Al-Sadr made the announcement amid an international spotlight on LGBTQ rights in Qatar, and more generally in the region.
Qatar, where gaysex is illegal in Qatar, came under intense international scrutiny.
Some fans were banned from bringing rainbow-coloured items into stadiums. This is an emblem of LGBTQ rights.
Many people signed the pledge at Kufa on Friday, al-Sadr mentioning the World Cup culture conflicts. Kazem al Husseini, the imam of a local mosque denied that the campaign was inspired by the World Cup. He also noted that al Sadr had made similar statements in the past.
However, he said that Westerners who visited the (games) at the World Cup tried to promote the topic.
“There is fear that the West may be putting pressure on Arab and Islamic rulers to legalize same-sex marriages in their constitutions, laws and laws so they can normalize this perversion,” he stated.
Ibrahim al-Jabri also signed the pledge in Baghdad’s Sadr City. We also have the right to reject falsehood and to reject corruptive behavior.”
Sanar Hasan, a journalist from Iraq who has written about LGBTQ issues, pointed out that al-Sadr had previously blamed homosexuality for both the COVID-19 pandemics and monkeypox. His latest campaign was a timing issue, according to Sanar Hasan, an Iraqi journalist who has written on LGBTQ issues. He had previously blamed both the a href=”https://indianexpress.com/about/coronavirus/”>COVID-19/a> pandemic and a?a href=”https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-monkeypox-a-from-a-that-has-reported-in-the-uk-7907071/”>monkeypox-a>monkeypox-a-a>mona>monkeypox-a>the-form the country’s government.
LGBTQ people in Iraq worry that the campaign, despite its claim to nonviolence, will only lead to harassment and abuse in a country already threatening their identities.
Human Rights Watch published earlier this year a report claiming that Iraqi armed groups had abducted, raped, tortured and killed transgender and lesbian people.
According to the report, the Iraqi government failed to hold those responsible accountable.
Rasha Younes (a LGBTQ rights researcher for the group) stated that attacks against LGBT people in Iraq are a long-standing political tactic in an emailed statement.
Al-Sadr’s public speeches “have served to undermine LGBT Rights and fuel violence towards LGBT Iraqis, which already face killings. Abductions, torture and sexual violence by Armed Groups with impunity,” she said.
Najaf University student identified as queer but spoke anonymously out of concern for his safety. He said that they were often harassed by locals for wearing clothes that are not in line with the local conservative norms.
Al-Sadr’s recent hate speech makes them even more afraid, given past violence committed by his followers, the student stated.
They stated that although I had initially planned to wait to graduate from the university to travel to Europe with my study visa, I now think of taking extra precautions so that I can flee to safety in an emergency.