Sistani's words calling for death for homosexuals have given rise to death squads targeting them in Iraq. Yet some still laud him as a moderate.
When I spoke Tuesday night at Connecticut College in New London, CT, a student in the audience asked me about Christian preachers calling for death for homosexuals. Yet none of the mainstream Christian Churches or spokesmen in fact do this -- and certainly no one with the stature of Sistani. This is just another example of how the moral equivalence games that so many like to play actually obscure the real issues that we as a society need to be facing.
From The Advocate, with thanks to Tara:
Shiite Muslim leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a death-to-gays fatwa in Iraq last October, and now squads of the local Badr Corps are systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, veteran political journalist Doug Ireland reports on his Web site. Iraqi gays who have sought protection from U.S. authorities in the “Green Zone” around Baghdad say they have been met with indifference and derision.
“The Badr Corps is committed to the ‘sexual cleansing’ of Iraq,“ Ali Hili, a 33-year-old gay Iraqi exile in London who fled to the United Kingdom five months ago, told Ireland. “We believe that the Badr Corps is receiving advice from Iran on how to target gay people.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran has been in the news in recent months for persecuting and executing young gay men. According to Ireland, the well-armed Badr Corps is the military arm of the Iranian-backed Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the powerful Shia group that is the largest political formation in Iraq’s Shia community.
The Ayatollah Sistani, 77, an Iranian-born cleric who is the supreme Shia authority in Iraq, is revered by the Supreme Council as its spiritual leader. His antigay fatwa says that “people involved” in homosexuality “should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.”