Mullahs Love Boys
It has been argued that there is an intersection between torture, sublimated homoerotic tendencies, and certain elements of our military culture serving abroad. I offer these anecdotes for your consideration:
Also, as in Iran, â€œBadr militants are entrapping gay men via Internet chat rooms,â€ Hili says. â€œThey arrange a date, and then beat and kill the victim. Males who are unmarried by the age of 30 or 35 are placed under surveillance on suspicion of being gay, as are effeminate men. They will be investigated and warned to get married. Badr will typically give them a month to change their ways. If they donâ€™t, or if they fail to show evidence that they plan to get married, they will be arrested, disappear and eventually be found dead. The bodies are usually discovered with their hands bound behind their back, blindfolds over their eyes and bullet wounds to the back of the head.â€
Tahseen, a 31-year-old photography lab technician and underground gay activist, told me by telephone from Baghdad that, â€œJust last week, four gay people we know of were found dead. I am afraid to leave my room and go out in the street because I will be killed.â€ He said that men who seem obviously gay â€œcannot walk in the street. My best friend was recently killed for being gay.â€
Tahseen also described the Badr Corpsâ€™ Internet entrapment program, noting that â€œsince Sistaniâ€™s fatwa, the violence and killings have gotten much, much worse.â€ Tahseen lives in a Baghdad apartment with his two brothers. â€œRight now, I have five gay men hiding in my room in fear of their lives,â€ he said, the anguish audible in his voice. One man given refuge by Tahseen is Bashar, a 34-year-old stage actor, who was forced into hiding after he and his family received death threats. He said that before he went underground, his house was raided several times by the Badr Corps. Fortunately, he was not at home.
â€œWe desperately need protection!â€ Tahseen pleaded. â€œBut, when we go to the Americans, they laugh at us and donâ€™t do anything.â€
The Koran mandates "hard punishment" for offenders, the mullah explains. By tradition there are three penalties: being burned at the stake, pushed over the edge of a cliff or crushed by a toppled wall.
During its reign in Kandahar, the Taliban implemented the latter. In February 1998, it used a tank to push a brick wall on top of three men, two accused of sodomy and the third of homosexual rape. The first two died; the third spent a week in the hospital and, under the assumption that God had spared him, was sent to prison. He served six months and fled to Pakistan.
Apparently to discourage post-Taliban visitors, the owners of a nearby house have begun rebuilding on the site.
"A lot of foreigners came and started interviewing people," says Abdul Baser, a 24-year-old neighbor, who points out the trench where the men were crushed. "Since then they have rebuilt the wall."
But many accuse the Taliban of hypocrisy on the issue of homosexuality.
"The Taliban had halekon, but they kept it secret," says one anti-Taliban commander, who is rumored to keep two halekon. "They hid their halekon in their madrasas," or religious schools.
It's not only religious authorities who describe homosexual sex as common among the Pushtun.
Dr. Mohammed Nasem Zafar, a professor at Kandahar Medical College, estimates that about 50% of the city's male residents have sex with men or boys at some point in their lives. He says the prime age at which boys are attractive to men is from 12 to 16--before their beards grow in. The adolescents sometimes develop medical problems, which he sees in his practice, such as sexually transmitted diseases and sphincter incontinence. So far, the doctor said, AIDS does not seem to be a problem in Afghanistan, probably because the country is so isolated.
"Sometimes when the halekon grow up, the older men actually try to keep them in the family by marrying them off to their daughters," the doctor says.
Zafar cites a local mullah whom he caught once using the examination table in the doctor's one-room clinic for sex with a younger man. "If this is our mullah, what can you say for the rest?" Zafar asks.
Hat tip to Gay Men Rule, who should post more frequently, and think about having a few more dykes on their blogroll.