association Iraqi lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual
(LGBT) was assassinated by an anti-gay Islamist death squad ten days ago.
Bashar, a 27-year-old graduate of Baghdad's Academy of Fine Arts, was
machine-gunned while getting a haircut, making him the 17th Iraqi LGBT
underground gay activist to be murdered in the lethal campaign of "sexual
cleansing" that has killed hundreds of Iraqi queers since October 2005. At
that time, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the octogenarian spiritual chief
of all Iraqi Shiite Muslims, issued a death-to-all-gays fatwa.
Bashar's last name cannot be published out of concern for the safety of his
"There were four killers, all wearing black masks," said Ali Hili, the
35-year-old gay Iraqi exile who is the London-based coordinator and
co-founder of the all-volunteer Iraqi LGBT, which has members throughout
Iraq, runs safe houses for those threatened with death by the fundamentalist
murder squads, and documents the ever-escalating campaign of anti-gay
assassinations in Iraq.
To date, Iraqi LGBT's network of underground gay activists has been able to
assemble documentation of 487 deliberate murders of Iraqis targeted by the
death squads because they were known or believed to be gay, lesbian, or
transgendered. That figure may well be only the tip of the iceberg, given
the difficulty of their investigations in an utltra-homophobic society riven
by armed conflict among ethnic and religious groups.
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