The Hunted by Matt McAllester
“Killing gays is halal,” permissible under Islamic law. “We’ll get points in heaven for it.”
From Baghdad—frightening reports of gay pogroms, where homosexual men are targeted, tortured, slayed. From New York—a scurry to find those same men before they are killed, and shepherd them to safety. On a bright afternoon in late March, an 18-year-old named Fadi stood in a friend’s clothing store in Baghdad checking out the new merchandise. A worker in a neighboring store walked into the boutique with a newspaper in his hand and shared a story he had just read. It was about “sexual deviants,” he said. Gay men’s rectums had been glued shut, and they had been force-fed laxatives and water until their insides exploded. They had been found dead on the street.
That evening Fadi met up with his three closest friends—Ahmed, Mazen, and Namir—in a coffee shop.“They’re doing this to frighten us,” he said. In recent weeks, with rumors of gay death squads and torture on the rise, the four friends had lowered their profile. They no longer went to the Shisha every night. “We’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Fadi said, on the last night they met there.