Two gay men were killed in Baghdad’s Sadr City slum, a local official said on Saturday, and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality.
Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein six years ago.
“Two young men were killed on Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honor,” a Sadr City official who declined to be named said.
The police source who declined to be named said the bodies of four gay men were unearthed in Sadr City on March 25, each bearing a sign reading “pervert” in Arabic on their chests.
Sermons condemning homosexuality were read at the last two Friday prayer gatherings in Sadr City, a sprawling Baghdad slum of some 2 million people.