While the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become a violent and dangerous force in the Middle East, a new interview shared the personal toll ISIS is having on the LGBT community in occupied territories.
Taim, a 24-year-old gay medical student, told BBC Magazine that while living in Iraq, acquaintances attacked him multiple times and that his father threatened to turn him over to ISIS. With execution imminent, Taim went into hiding with his mother’s assistance and eventually fled to the safety of Lebanon.
Gay men, he said in the interview, have been identified as public targets for humiliation, violence and executions. He explained that ISIS is using these brutal attacks to gather public support in a place where LGBT people are already deeply stigmatized.
According to Taim, ISIS looks for members of the LGBT community by going through the phones, messages and Facebook accounts of LGBT people whom they have already captured. A gay friend of Taim’s in Iraq was thrown off a building then stoned to death.
While ISIS has released several horrific images and videos, claiming that they are brutally executing members of the LGBT community, Taim’s bravery and his story emphasize the need for global LGBT rights and the impact ISIS has had on friends, family and members of the LGBT community.
Members of the LGBT community are not the only victims. They have joined thousands of others ISIS has executed on various charges in the last few years.
ISIS has taken over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. ISIS foot soldiers come from more than 75 countries, including the United States. Members of the LGBT community who come under the sway of this extremist group are in grave peril as it attempts to expand the territories under its control.