Baghdad posters promote LGBT acceptance, stir social media controversy

Photos circulated across social media websites purport to show posters in Baghdad’s streets that promote tolerance towards LGBTs

Baghdad ( Social media users have been largely alarmed with photos of posters allegedly put up at various streets of Baghdad to promote co-existence with homosexuals.

While some users censored the move, especially with it coming to light during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, others defended the posters citing a need to protect freedom of expression.

It was not clear from the photos who sponsored the campaign. “I am equal to you. Difference is the basis of life,” read the poster featuring two hands bearing the colors of the famous LGBT rainbow flag, besides featureless, cartoonized human figures of straight and homosexual people.

Though the Iraqi constitution does not clearly incriminate homosexuality, reports by Human Rights Watch had told of kidnappings, tortures and murders targeting LGBTs early 2009. Under late president Saddam Hussein, a campaign was launched to incriminate adultery, homosexuality and rape, demanding execution as a punishment. A report by the Observer late 2009 counted 680 murders of homosexual victims between 2004 and 2009.

Islamic State militants, who proclaimed an Islamist “caliphate” in 2014 in Iraq, have also reportedly sentenced a number of men suspected of homosexuality to death by throwing them from rooftops.

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