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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:26 am 
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Sex scandal rocks Iraqi's Shi'ites
7 July 2010

BAGHDAD — A top-level Shi'ite cleric has been defrocked over sexually explicit videos posted on the Internet that have outraged devout communities across Iraq and tarnished the image of the sect's highest religious body.

Munaf Hamdan Naji al-Mosawi, a close aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for 11 years, has gone into hiding after intimate footage apparently recorded on his mobile phone ended up in the hands of neighbors, who marched to his home in Amara to demand the return of their religious donations, according to Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) sources — religious figures in Amara and Najaf, where Sistani's office is based.

The controversy, which has yet be reported by the national media — presumably because of its sensitivity — has been widely discussed and reported on the Internet. It has ignited debate about the personal conduct of religious representatives and drawn charges of hypocrisy from Shi'ite followers around the country. Some commentators see the alleged incident as a blow to the reputation of the Marjaya, Iraq's highest Shi'ite religious body, and say it even questions the judgment of the deeply revered and popular Sistani, one of the world's highest-ranking Shi'ite clerics.

As the first public sex scandal to hit a senior religious leader in Iraq, the alleged videos have become a burning controversy — despite claims from local reporters that clerics and officials in the ultra-conservative city of Amara ordered them to ignore it.

"I watched the videos. The scenes show [Mosawi] has no understanding of morality or ethics. A cleric is a symbol of his religion. When they do something wrong like this, the whole religion can seem wrong to the followers," said Mohammad Hussein, 45, a Shi'ite government worker in Amara.

IWPR sources say the footage, which became public when Mosawi lost his phone's memory card, allegedly shows the cleric naked and involved in sexual acts with his wife and, in a separate video, another woman with whom he had a muta'a, or temporary marriage. Locals who have seen the complete contents of the card claim there are images of as many as 18 other women. IWPR sources say the videos were quickly spread by locals through cell phones and some were later uploaded on the Internet. By June 29, one of the many non-pornographic versions of the alleged videos posted on the YouTube website had nearly 80,000 views. Some of the videos had been doctored anonymously into anti-Shi'ite propaganda.

According to sources familiar with the Shi'ite faith, that Mosawi was allegedly engaged in sex with the two women is not the problem. The fact he allegedly filmed the said encounters, however, is considered beyond the pale, especially for a leading cleric. When the scandal became known to his colleagues, Mosawi was quickly denounced and stripped of his position as Sistani's representative in Amara and surrounding Maysan province, IWPR sources say.

"Ayatollah Sistani found out about this incident from ordinary people who came to our office and told us that [Mosawi's] videos had defamed the Marjaya's reputation and the reputation of all Shi'ites," said a cleric in Sistani's office in Najaf, who declined to be named as he was not allowed to speak about the incident. "After we checked with our people in Maysan province, Ayatollah Sistani issued a statement to us clarifying that Mosawi was no longer representing the Marjaya."

According IWPR sources, Mosawi's location is still unknown. Authorities in Maysan province have issued arrest warrants for anyone caught watching or distributing the alleged videos, but no charges have been filed against Mosawi. IWPR sought to contact Mosawi for comment but was unable to track him down.

"[Mosawi's] action is completely unethical and the situation in Maysan is unstable. We have worked hard to maintain security here, and it hurts to see such footage being watched by young men and women," Saad Hussein al-Mosawi, spokesman of the Maysan provincial council, said.

In Amara, Mosawi's neighbors and followers have watched the events unfold with disbelief. "We were really shocked when we saw the cleric in those videos. We considered him a sacred person. He is a devout example to us and we used to pay him zakat [religious donations]. As his neighbor, we never had any doubts about him. I am shocked just like everybody. And now I am worried about the women in my family," Jawad Kadhim, 40, a schoolteacher and neighbor, said.

The families of the women in the videos have so far reserved their anger for Mosawi rather than their relatives, but there are concerns of revenge from tradition-bound tribesmen. A tribal leader, Shiekh Abdul Hussein Jabber al-Maliki, related to the second woman in the videos, said she would not be punished because "it was not her fault, it was his". "We are calling on the Marjaya to check its deputies and representatives more closely to avoid such actions in the future. Events like this can cause endless fights and battles we have no time for," he said.

As the story makes its way through Iraq's bazaars and teahouses, others have questioned the Marjaya's process of vetting its members and the integrity of institution itself. "When Sistani was issuing fatwas about Iraqi issues, his followers used to say that he is most aware person in Iraq — aware of everything. So, where has his awareness gone?" asked Abu Zamel, 55, a Sunni and government employee in Baghdad.

Ammar Naser, 28, a Shi'ite engineer in Baghdad, said, "Really, I am astonished. For two days people have been telling me about this story, and I really have to consider whether or not to keep following the orders of the Marjaya and Sistani."

But members of Sistani's inner circle have downplayed any damage to the ayatollah's prestige. "Ayatollah Sistani is a respected leader not only in Iraq , but all over the world. His reputation will never be affected by an ugly act such as this," said a Marjaya member who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject. However, Sheikh Haider Abdul Ghaffar al-Ansari, a senior cleric in Amara and a Sistani adviser, admits the scandal has shaken the Shi'ite community. "Mosawi is no longer a representative of the Marjaya, Ayatollah Sistani has removed him from his position. We do not know where he is, and he does not represent the Marjaya at all," he said.

"Although the incident seems to push people away from their religion, I have noticed that the number of Shi'ite Muslims attending prayer services is increasing. Even so, I think this incident will push us back two years in terms of time."

This article originally appeared in Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Source: Asia Times.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:36 pm 
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Iraq Sees Wave of Brutal Antigay Murders
6 March 2012
By Trudy Ring

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Campaign of Iraqi gay killings by smashing skulls with concrete blocks ADVOCATE.COM

A recent wave of violence in Iraq has resulted in the kidnapping, torture, and killing of about 40 people perceived to be gay or lesbian, with the murder weapon sometimes being a concrete block to the head.

The killings began in early February after an unidentified group put up posters with death threats against “adulterous individuals” in largely Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and Basra, reports the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The threats listed the targets’ names and ages, and gave them four days to change their behavior or face divine retribution.

Some of the murders have been carried out by smashing the victims’ skulls with concrete blocks or pushing them off roofs of tall buildings, says a report from two other groups, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and Iraqi LGBT.

IGLHRC officials further report, “The Iraqi authorities have neither responded to this targeted violence nor have they publicly denounced it. It is widely believed that these atrocities are being committed by a group of the Shiite militia.”

There was a wave of targeted killings of people believed to be gay or lesbian in 2009 as well, the organization notes. Such crimes “must not be tolerated in a new Iraq,” says IGLHRC executive director Cary Alan Johnson in a statement on the group’s website. As “a fully sovereign and democratic country,” Iraq “must protect all of its citizens including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from hate-filled violence and death at the hands of armed militias,” he says.

An online statement from the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and Iraqi LGBT calls on “all freedom-lovers of the world, the women’s and human rights organization and governments in the advanced world” to pressure the Iraqi government to protect its LGBT citizens. It also demands a full investigation into the campaign of violence and “full punishment” for the perpetrators.

Source: Advocate.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:43 pm 
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Iraqi gays under threat amid brutal killings
11 March 2012

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Iraqi soldiers patrol on a street in Baghdad in 2011.

AFP - Young Iraqi teenagers widely perceived to be gay are being brutally killed in Baghdad with Shiite militias distributing lists of targets warning of further assaults, officials and human rights groups say.

At least 15 teenagers, described as "emo"s for their tight-fitting black clothes and alternative hairstyles, have been stoned, beaten to death or shot dead in the past month, medics say. Human rights groups say the toll is far higher amid accusations of a cover-up by security forces.

Witnesses in the conservative Shiite Muslim bastion of Sadr City in north Baghdad say a militia group calling itself the "Brigades of Anger" has posted leaflets naming 22 youths to be "punished". Medical officials said at least 15 had already been killed in the past month, including seven who were stoned to death, five who were shot and one who was beaten to death. "Police generally take care of all these incidents," said one of the officials, who declined to be named. "They don't like medics or ambulances to take them. Two days ago, the body of a teenager was found in Bayaa -- he was evacuated by police."

In Western youth culture, the term "emo" refers only to dress and musical preference and carries no connotation about a person's sexual orientation. In Iraq, however, the term is widely conflated with being gay, which remains taboo in the conservative Muslim country. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, based in New York, said a "new surge of anti-gay violence" since February had seen nearly 40 people kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.

Source: France24.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:21 pm 
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Iraqi women face court-ordered virginity tests
1 July 2012

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Iraqi women walk past patrolling Iraqi police personnel in Amara, 2008.

AFP - Iraqi women face court-ordered virginity tests that often show they were virgins until marriage but shame them nonetheless, doctors at an institute that carries out the tests and a lawyer told AFP.

Remaining a virgin until marriage can be an issue of life or death for women in the Middle East, where those who are seen as having dishonoured the family by having premarital sex are sometimes killed by male relatives.

An average of several virginity tests are performed per day at the Medical Legal Institute (MLI) in Baghdad, in a small windowless room with blue-tiled walls and a black table with leg stirrups at one end. Other equipment includes a white scope on a wheeled stand and a bright white light, also on wheels, near the end of the table.

"Most of the cases we received after the first day of marriage," said Dr Munjid al-Rezali, the director of the MLI. "The husband claim that she is not a virgin, and then the family bring her here, through the courts, this all come through the courts, and we examine her," Rezali said, speaking in English. "It's not uncommon, we are seeing a lot," he added.

The tests include examination of the woman's hymen, but the man involved may also come under scrutiny. The man may be tested for impotency, Rezali said, noting that in some cases, a man with erectile dysfunction may pretend the woman was not a virgin to hide his shame. The results of the tests go directly to the courts, and are not given by the MLI to the parties involved, Rezali said. "They think that during the marriage, (the) first day of marriage, there should be blood... they think if there is no blood, there is no virginity," said Dr Sami Dawood, a forensic doctor at the MLI who has been involved in the tests.

This belief, he said, indicates that sex education and knowledge is "very poor." If a man thinks his new wife is not a virgin, he may take the issue to court, leading to the MLI performing a virginity test, said Dawood. Asked about the results of the tests, Dawood said that "most of them (are) with the woman, not against the woman, but it is by itself... shaming." However, he said that while women were killed in the past if blood was not found on the sheets after their wedding night, people now seek recourse through the courts and the virginity tests procedure.

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An Iraqi attendant arranges wedding dresses at his store in Baghdad, 2004.

The test, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes, is carried out by three doctors, at least one of them a woman, and the results are certified by two others, said Dawood, adding that the tests are done only when ordered by a court.

"The judge is required to send the woman for the medical test when she is accused by her husband of not being a virgin, and that is only done in this case," lawyer Ali Awad Kurdi said. "If it is proved that the woman was not virgin and sought to get married without telling the man, there is no law that protects her," Kurdi said. The woman's family is then required to recompense the man for gifts, money and other expenditures related to the relationship.

Various Iraqi judicial officials either declined to speak about the issue, or could not be reached by AFP. "Non-governmental organisations do not have any means of protecting women from this accusation of this crime, because it is a very sensitive matter," said Intisar al-Mayali, an activist from the Iraqi Women's Association, a local rights group.

Marianne Mollmann, senior policy adviser for rights group Amnesty International, called virginity tests both wrong and ineffective. "The issue of virginity testing, and forced virginity testing and sort of legal virginity tests in court proceedings or in other ways, violate a whole host of human rights and are just not justifiable," she said. "Even if it were legitimate to look at whether women were virgins for whatever reason, which it's not, you can't use a virginity test for that, because the hymen might break for any reason," Mollmann said. The test "doesn't do what it's set out to do."

Liesl Gerntholtz, the director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, said: "The Iraqi government should urgently put measures in place to ensure that women and girls are not forced to undergo physical examinations that are degrading, painful and frightening." "The use of these tests in court should be banned."

Source: France24.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:07 pm 
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Gay Iraqis are now eligible for asylum in the Netherlands
Thursday, 12 July 2012



The situation facing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Iraq is so serious that they do now qualify for asylum in the Netherlands, immigration minister Gerd Leers said on Thursday.

However, would-be refugees will have to prove they are from Iraq, the minister said in a briefing.

His decision follows the publication of a foreign affairs ministry report which was highly critical of the treatment of homosexuals in Iraq and said in some areas they are deliberately targeted by armed militias.

Source: Dutch News.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:09 pm 
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The new suffragettes: The Kurdish woman fighting against female genital mutilation
by Loveday Morris
Saturday, 1 June 2013

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Blunt and rusted tools used for genital mutilation. PA

As a nine-year-old growing up in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Awezan Nuri narrowly escaped female genital mutilation.

“My mother was 12 when she was mutilated,” says the 31-year-old women’s rights campaigner, who is also a renowned poet. “She has told me about the terrible pain, how much she bled that night and how ashamed she was to tell her family she was hurting. She couldn’t talk to her mother, because her mother was the one who’d taken her to be cut. She felt alone and scared.”

Despite the trauma of that experience, Nuri’s mother still pushed for her six daughters to undergo the same process themselves. “She thought it was the responsibility of every Sunni Muslim to do this. Logically, she disagreed with it, but there was so much pressure from society.”

It is a misguided belief among Muslim communities in dozens of countries around the world that the practice is mandated in Islam. For Nuri, it was an intervention by her father that saved her sisters from the knife – he said he did not agree with it. But most Iraqi Kurds are not so lucky. Figures from the Pana Centre – of which Nuri is vice president, in charge of the campaign against female genital mutilation (FGM) – show that 38 per cent of women in Kirkuk are victims. Among ethnic Kurds, that figure rises to 65 per cent.

In Kurdistan, the practice usually involves the removal of the clitoris, and is carried out on young girls between the age of four and 12. However, more severe types of FGM, which include the removal of the inner and outer labia, have also been documented. “The psychological effects on these young girls is unimaginable,” says Nuri. “Later in life they can never enjoy intimacy with their husbands.”

FGM has no health benefits and is mostly carried out on girls before they reach the age of 15. The procedures can cause severe bleeding, infections and infertility, as well as complications in childbirth. According to the World Health Organisation, around 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM. The practice is most common in western, eastern and north-eastern regions of Africa, where about 101 million girls age 10 and over are estimated to have undergone FGM. It is also practised in Asia, as well as the Middle East.

FGM is illegal in the UK, but the practice is still found in migrant communities, with some girls taken abroad for the procedure. According to NHS figures, more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 are believed to be at risk in the UK each year, but that figure could be much higher.

The autonomous Kurdish Regional Government has banned FGM – those caught carrying out the practice face a jail term – but the disputed city of Kirkuk lies outside its administration. Since setting up Pana in 2004, Nuri has worked to raise awareness of the issue and to lobby the government in Baghdad for a nationwide ban. Her work has often put her in peril. In the political tinderbox of Kirkuk, blighted by frequent sectarian bomb blasts, raising your head above the parapet on an issue such as FGM inevitably puts you in the firing line. “I’ve had threats via text message, by phone, by letter, on the internet,” she says. “People come up to me in the street and insult me and political parties have issued threats.” Her offices were broken into in July last year, and insults daubed on the wall. “I can’t really say what was written because it was too obscene. But one of the things written was ‘You should be scared for your lives, watch out’.”

Requests to the police to provide protection have so far been fruitless. In addition to campaigning against FGM, Pana also works with women who have suffered domestic abuse, running a shelter and providing free legal advice. The families of those she houses often issue threats – but for Nuri, it is a personal crusade.

Forced into marriage when she was 16, she was subjected to violence by both her father and husband. “I am a victim myself,” she says. “I had no chance to live, love, discover for myself.” It was only on her wedding day that she found out her husband to be was her 18-year-old cousin, whom she hadn’t seen for seven years but had hated as a child. “He would hit me, and after three months I couldn’t take it any more so went back to my family home, but my father beat me and forced me to go back to him. I returned because I was pregnant, that was the only reason.” Her father insisted that if she was to leave her husband, she should leave her daughter too. “He told me: ‘You can’t hate him and love his baby.’ ” She stayed for five years, but after her father died, she obtained a divorce in 2004. Five months later she set up Pana, with a group of 11 others.

Though there have been some improvements in women’s rights in Iraq over the past decade – including a jump in women completing higher education, Nuri says the security situation has hampered efforts. With no gun control, domestic violence can often end in tragedy, and so-called honour killings continue.

Last year, in a village near Kirkuk, a man drenched his three daughters in boiling water and then shot them because he suspected them of having sex. An autopsy later showed they were all virgins. He received a sentence of just two years because of a stipulation in Iraq’s penal code which reduces murder to a maximum of three years in prison if a man surprises his wife or female dependants “in a state of adultery”. It is in such a climate that Nuri fearlessly campaigns for changes in the law to protect women better, despite the risks. “I’m not scared – any change that has ever been made in any society required difficult times,” she says. “History will talk about us and will talk about our movement. Other women in the world have done this, and they were threatened and they were beaten, but they did it. Why not us?”

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:57 pm 
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Gunmen kill 25 women in Baghdad compound raid: police
July 12, 2014

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Members of the Al-Abbas brigades parade in Karbala on June 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Mohammed Sawaf)

Baghdad (AFP) - Gunmen killed 25 women and wounded at least eight people Saturday when they stormed two buildings in a residential Baghdad compound reputedly used for prostitution, police and government sources said.

"Twenty-five women were killed and eight people wounded, among them four men, when gunmen stormed two buildings in a residential compound in Zayouna in east Baghdad," an interior ministry official told AFP.

A senior police officer, who said the attackers used silenced weapons, gave the same death toll but reported 11 wounded. "Unidentified gunmen stormed building number 43 in Zayouna, killing 10 women and wounding five. They also stormed building number 44, where they killed 15 women and wounded six men," a police colonel said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

An AFP correspondent on the scene said police cordoned off the area while eyewitnesses also said several people were arrested in the aftermath of the killings. "This is the fate of any prostitution," read a inscription on the door of the one of the raided buildings. Residents said the street's sole access point was manned by police and soldiers.

It was not immediately clear who the killers were but similar raids killed 12 people in May 2013 and three women two months later in the same mainly Shiite neighbourhood of the Iraqi capital. Shiite militias have become more active on the streets of Baghdad since Sunni militants led by jihadist fighters took over large swathes of eastern and northern Iraq a month ago.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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 Post subject: Re: Iraq and sex
PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:26 pm 
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Death toll in Baghdad brothel raid rises to 31: police
July 14, 2014

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A picture taken on July 14, 2014 shows apartment blocks in Baghdad's residential district of Zayouna where a notorious pimp kept a 'stable' of dozens of women
(AFP Photo)

Baghdad (AFP) - The death toll from a raid on a Baghdad compound used for prostitution rose to 31 Monday, as pictures obtained by AFP offered clues to the circumstances of the carnage.

"The total number of dead now stands at 31, two of them men," interior ministry spokesman Saad Maan told AFP.

Gunmen stormed two buildings in Baghdad's residential district of Zayouna, known in the area for housing rented flats where a notorious pimp kept a "stable" of up to 60 women. Photographs taken soon after the killings on Saturday evening showed a man, identified by police sources as the pimp, lying dead in a pool of blood alongside one of his presumed henchmen. The pair, the only male victims of the raid, appeared to have had their hands tied behind their backs before being executed.

Another picture shows the crouching bodies of five women huddled together in a corner of a bathroom with blood-spattered tiled walls and floor, in what seemed to have been a desperate attempt to hide from their attackers. Another shows bodies, some wearing bright colours, others dressed in black, lined up in a living room, the floor of which was drenched with blood.

Access to the only street leading to buildings 43 and 44, where the killings took place, is usually overseen by police and soldiers. Residents say the pimp, who went by the name of Aws, was a powerful figure in the neighbourhood who would bribe security officers and was able to run his business from the same compound for years. "This is the fate of any prostitution," read an inscription on the front door of one of the raided buildings.

Such punitive raids are not uncommon in Zayouna, but Saturday's was the deadliest in years. It was not immediately clear who the killers were. Most residents were afraid to speak, with religious militiamen having become even more prominent in Baghdad since a jihadist-led onslaught launched last month exacerbated sectarian tensions and pushed Iraq to the brink of disintegration.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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