A proposed bill to ban homosexuality in Iraq has been submitted to its parliament.
The deputy head of the committee on legal affairs at the federal parliament in Baghdad, Mortada Al-Saadi, called on Mohamed al-Halbousi, the speaker of the council of representatives, to put the bill on the agenda for the next legislation season, which starts in September.
Same-sexual activity isn’t explicitly prohibited in Iraq, but certain items in the 1969 Penal Code, as well as in sharia law, allow lawmakers to criminalise the LGBTQ+ community.
According to an independent Erbil-based news agency, Basnews, the move follows the head of the nationalist Sadrist movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, announcing plans to rally millions of Iraqi citizens to call for a ban on homosexuality.
Shia cleric Al-Sadr’s call saw him reach out to education institutions to spread awareness of his bid to protest against LGBTQ+ lives in Iraq.
Iraq remains a dangerous place for LGBTQ+ people
Anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is prevalent in Iraq with Al-Sadr repeatedly making dangerous remarks about the queer community. He once tweeted that gay people were to blame for the pandemic and Mpox, which he referred to as “gay-pox”.
Last year, the Iraqi authority criticised the presence of the Pride rainbow flag in the capital, Baghdad.
That same year, the Iraqi parliament began the process of collecting signatures to pass a law to make homosexuality illegal, sparking anger and fear in the local LGBTQ+ community.
In a statement to the state-run Iraqi News Agency, Aref al-Hamami, who sits on the parliamentary legal committee, said: “The new law will hold homosexuals to account and impose the most severe penalties on them.”
In September, members of the Kurdistan regional government in Iraq proposed a bill that, if passed, would punish any individual or group who advocates for the rights of LGBT people.
Punishment under the “bill on the prohibition of promoting homosexuality” inclide advocates of the community facing up to one year in prison and a fine of up to five million dinars (£3,000).
It would also enforce bans of up to one month on media companies and civil society organisations that “promote homosexuality”.
Source : The Pink News