There but for the grace of god…

Iranian courts lynch queer teenagers

The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported the public execution of these two teenagers in eastern Iran, Jul 19. These two boys, identified only by their initials MA and AM, were imprisoned for 14 months and whipped 228 times before they were strung up in a public square.

The jail time was for theft, the whippings were for drinking alcohol and they died for having sex with each other.

ISNA’s original story-in Farsi, and the only first – hand account of the executions that has surfaced so far – says nothing about any other crimes these boys may have committed, but some media outlets around the world parroted Iranian officials who claim MA and AM raped and robbed a 13-year-old boy at knifepoint.

Disinformation is typical of Iran’s oligarchic theocracy. We’ll probably never get a clear picture of all the details that led to MA and AM’s deaths.

We do know that the Iranian government follows a literal and brutal interpretation of Islamic Sharia law. One that, like a literal and brutal reading of the Christian Bible, prescribes death for queers.

People convicted of homosexuality in Iran can choose among four fates: being hanged, stoned to death, halved by a sword or dropped from the highest perch-imagine having to make that final choice.

“According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979,” says Peter Tatchell of London’s queer rights watchdog OutRage!

“Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule. The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government.”

Iran has a rich and ancient culture and the world is filled with many wonderful, progressive and thoughtful Iranians. These executions are not an accurate reflection of Iranian or Middle Eastern cultures.

Wicked men have manipulated tradition and spewed dogma for centuries to build political power. World history is littered with examples of those who attempt to destroy their enemies by attacking their sexuality.

That’s most likely what happened to MA and AM. It’s about hogging power through brutal violence; not culture.

Nevertheless, I submit the brutal torture and murder of these poor souls is absolutely indefensible. If there’s evil in the world, this is it.

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