In a newly released video by the Islamic State (ISIS), two men, accused of being gay, were executed with the assistance of local school aged children.
In the six minute long clip, shot in Homs, Syria, the pair were sentenced to death for “homosexuality.” Afterwards, they were thrown from a rooftop, which, in the past, has often lead to injury but not death. As has happened before, the crowd, who has been supplied with stones, ensure the men are killed. In this instance, unlike before, multiple children are depicted assisting with the stone throwing.
ISIS titled the video “But Who Is Better Than God In Judgement: Establishing A Limit Upon the People of Lut – Wilayat Homs,” or, alternatively, “State of Homs.” The “People of Lut” refers to the story of Lot in the Old Testament, which is interpreted by some to condemn homosexuality.
In both June and July, men were executed for being gay in the same manner; being first read their crimes, then thrown off of a rooftop, before finally pelted with stones. These executions took place in Dir Zour, Syria and Fallujah, Iraq.
It is unknown if these men are, in fact, LGBTQ identified, and some in the past have questioned if ISIS uses the crime of homosexuality as an excuse to target, and rid themselves of, political enemies. In either case, the killings are a brutal violation of human rights.
Because of these atrocities, many in the LGBTQ community have fled Iraq and Syria, the strongholds of ISIS, into Turkey. Mary, a transgender woman from Syria who, after waiting for three years, was resettled in Canada, explains her fears and feelings on the possibility of returning home: “No reason in this life will make me think to go back to Syria, whether there is war or not.”
Note: The video mentioned above is not linked to because of the graphic nature of the contents.
Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.