Thursday, March 26, 2009

One More Reason To Target Iraqi Lives

While different media sources have turned their focus towards the progressing process in Iraq, Belagh Media Center, an internet based media outlet established by its Secretary General, Ammar Al-Hakim, chose a different topic to publish on its website.
Ammar Al-Hakim is the son of Abdul Aziz Al Hakim, the president of the “Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council” and the leader of the “United Iraqi Alliance”, the largest block in the Iraqi parliament. Both are very extremist Shiites and have openly attached Iraqi from other sects.
The Belagh Media Center published an article under the title, “Four Corpses of Homosexuals Were Found in Baghdad.” The article says that the Iraqi security forces found the four corpses in the Sadir City, one of Al-Mahdi Army’s, Muqtada Al Sadir’s militia’s strongholds in Baghdad. The article also calls homosexuals with a demeaning slang from the Iraqi dialect, “Little dogs.”
The article expresses fear of the act being one sign of the deteriorating security situation in Baghdad, however, the author justifies, “Even though homosexuality is very spread in the Arab countries, but it is a phenomenon that is hated by Baghdadis.”
This is a media outlet that is followed by many Iraqis just for the fact that they are religious clerics. It is time for human rights organization to advocate against the religious extremism the country is moving towards by these clerics. It is time that the Iraqis live a more liberated life. That is a clear attack against homosexuals. Iraq has no specific laws against sex individuals’ sexual preferences. One might argue that it is too naive to be asking for gay toleration or even gay rights in the Middle East but even during Saddam Hussein’s era, homosexuals were tolerated in Iraq more than most other Middle Eastern countries. This act can be very well related to Iranian influence. Many were outraged by Ahmedi Najad’s comment in New York last year when he told the American public that there are absolutely no homosexuals in Iran and it is against the culture. Ammar Al-Hakim grew up in Iran, where he also attended several Islamic education institutes. Al-Hakims have very strong relations with the current Iranian government.
Homosexual might not be the most popular and most common label to have in Iraq, but to killing them was never common and is one more reason to make targets out of Iraqis.
This is one more example of the obstacles those political religious figures have set in the Iraqi society. If we are to be ruled by Islamic extremist demagogues, democracy, human rights, prosperity will never find their way to the life of the Iraqi individual.

Ali Rawaf


  1. great post Ali.

    i urge you to get this information to a wider audience. one way to do it would be to try limking to some gay rights sites. i don't have the time to do it now, but i will later. i've bookmarked you.

    i agree w/you the iranian influence may be a factor but as for Ahmedinajad’s comment, i wanted to clarify what he said as opposed to your version. he actually said something like (paraphrasing)

    'we don't have homosexuals in iran the way you do here'

    i took this to mean, out in the open living as a gay person. iran happens to have a flourishing sexchange operating business! i think it is acceptable there to get operated on and change your sex.

    bbc Today, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand.

    more bbc

    He shows me the book in Arabic in which, 41 years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini wrote about new medical issues like transsexuality.

    "I believe he was the first Islamic scientist in the world of Islam who raised the issue of sex change," says Hojatulislam Kariminia.

    The Ayatollah's ruling that sex-change operations were allowed has been reconfirmed by Iran's current spiritual leader.

    That has meant that clerics like Hojatulislam Kariminia can study transsexuality - unlike homosexuality which is completely forbidden in Islam and illegal in Iran.

    "I want to suggest that the right of transsexuals to change their gender is a human right," says the cleric, who is so fascinated by the subject that he says he dreams about the transsexuals he has studied at night.

    of course this is different from being gay. but i think that is what he meant like 'we don't have them like you do"

    i will be back!

    also, i thought i would mention the light white font barely shows up on the black background, can you make it stand out more?

  2. excellent, it looks like you have improved the font.

    also, i wanted to give you a heads up about handbook for bloggers linked from international journalists network. check out pg 26 regarding how to get your blog picked up by search engines. notice the relationship between the title of your piece, and the attention it gets due to it's relationship w/the permalink/URL.

    in this context if someone was doing a search to find out more about this story, do you think the search engine would find your post? i don't think so!

    you may prefer to stay clear from provocative titles but think about what you would google to find this story? perhaps 'executions/homosexual or gay/iraq/sharia law/ iran?'

    during a debate about iran executing homosexuals, which the right has pushed (reporting on)like gangbusters i was investigating it and read many many rightwing sites talking about it. are they also pushing this story? the right wind smear machine (malkin and her ilk, LGF, rush all those guys) often makes a point of using very inflammatory titles including 'hot' words like 'socialist'!

    one way to get people to come to your blog, and hopefully come back is to attract them thru the search engine.

    good luck. also, you may not have noticed the similarity between the name of your blog and another rather nebulous organization. have you googled 'iraq future' lately? try it. you are competing with what i assume is a very well funded organization responsible for lots of advertising in iraq w/a very well funded marketing department that has been at the center of some controversy because they do not identify themselves. when i went to look for your blog i couldn't find it, repeatedly. i had to enter in the url myself. this is something i have hardly ever ever done. it means if someone has visited your blog in the past and tried to find it again from remembering the name, chances are they may not find it. now compare that to 24 steps or baghdad treasure?

    just saying. you may want to consider something more unique.

    another thing, one of my very favorite bloggers who translated the arab press is going offline. i really think these kinds of blogs are valuable, and you have referenced this in your post (well, iraq government news not quite the same thing as the free press but still the category). this is something i have a lot of interest in and i think other people do to. opinion pieces, what are iraqi journalists (in iraq or the middle east) saying in the arab press? the news we get here is filtered, this is why i go to haaretz and jpost to get my news on israel. but i hear, some of the most controversial stuff is only published in hebrew!

    so reading the arab press and giving us your take on it may attract you some attention.

    one more thing..linking to your references, even if they are in a foreign language will attract more people because whoever you are linking to, or people searching the story mey see your post too. so add links! also add more text from the original story if you can. when i read about a story and suspect what i am reading might be cherry picked or out of context i frequently will google that part of the text, and it brings up all the other blogs who are talking about it, and i read several opinions. so make sure you attract attention in this way. this particular post for example, i may have an interest in looking at this 'Belagh Media Center '. (in fact i just googled it and went to the translated page, wow). if i didn't have to get off the internet and do some things today i could spend quite awhile there!)

    Report: Gays sentenced to death in Iraq, executions to begin next week
    . this is from a site called "PageoneQ". it appears to be gay based. when i googled the story all the references were from 06. wonder why this is niot hitting the mainstream press now? probably because of the surge, everything is allegedly going swimmingly.
    good luck.

  3. ali, i saw this diary @ daily kos the popular blog i mentioned to you. it is on the coveted recommend list right now certainly getting lots of attention. called Urgent appeal - Gay men escaping Iraq i recommend you check it out.

  4. Amazing, concise, yet deep analysis of the homosexuality issue in Iraq.