A long way to go on gay rights

Submitted by Matthew on 8 February, 2012 - 10:38

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) seven majority Muslim countries still maintain the death penalty for homosexual activity.

They are Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen.

In northern Nigeria, where some states use Sharia law, homosexuality is also punishable by death.

In Iran gay men are normally arrested under other trumped up charges. But in September 2011 three men were executed for homosexuality.

And when execution is not used other brutality can be. In 2010 a Saudi man was sentenced to 500 lashes and five years in jail for having sex with a man.

A Saudi Ministry of education textbook reads, “Homosexuality is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes.... It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins.... The punishment for homosexuality is death. Both the active and passive participants are to be killed whether or not they have previously had sexual intercourse in the context of a legal marriage.... Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that [the perpetrator] is to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.”

In other Muslim-majority states, where there are no specific laws against lesbians and gay men – such as Egypt and Iraq – other repressive methods are used. Ali Hili from Iraqi LGBT says that since 2003 700 Iraqis have been killed because of their sexuality.

There is however a debate on lesbian and gay rights which is growing – often via the internet and led by lesbians and gay men based in countries with more liberal legislation.