Nobody else is talking about this yet, so I might as well since — as I’ve noted before — there hasn’t been much discussion in the blogosphere about the hunting of Iraqi gays by religious death squads. Iraqi gay men may have caught a break, no thanks to us, now that the fatwa has been partially lifted.
Iraqi gays are claiming success following the decision of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to remove from his website a fatwa calling for the killing of homosexuals in the “worst, most severe way possible”.
The removal on May 10 follows protests to Sistani by the London office of the Iraqi gay rights organisation, Iraqi LGBT, which represents a clandestine network of lesbian and gay activists inside Iraq’s major cities, including Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, Duhok and Basra.
Following two weeks of negotiations with Iraqi LGBT – UK, Sistani’s office agreed to remove the fatwa calling for the murder of gay men, but has curiously refused to remove the fatwa urging punishment for lesbianism.
One wonders how much negotiation it will take before Iraqi lesbians are off the endangered list too.
It’s puzzling when not being marked for death is actually a sign of progress. But it shouldn’t be, because when you think about it, that’s the bottom line of tolerance. Tolerance amounts to simply being allowed to exist, and comes with the unspoken condition that tolerance can be removed if one asks for too much more.
Some fringe benefits of tolerance might be privileges like being able to live where you choose and not have your house burned down, or being able to go about your business relatively unharnessed. But it can, and usually does, come with the price of having to accept a certain degree of injustice, because tolerance is not the same as equality. It’s not supposed to be.