Heather Simmons


Today in the United States, the most frequent references to the Middle East are concerned with the War on Terrorism. However, there is another, hidden battle being waged: the war for human rights on the basis of sexuality. Homosexuality is a crime in many of the Middle Eastern states and is punishable by death in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iran (Ungar 2002). Chronic abuses and horrific incidences such as the 2009 systematic murders of hundreds of “gay” men in Iraq are seldom reported in the international media. Speculation as to why this population is hidden includes the controversial nature of homosexuality, religious extremism, regional differences in accepted sexual practices, and even international politics. Whatever the reason, the sexuality war raging in the Middle East needs to become a focus of the international community—lives are at stake.

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