Gay men describe horrors of IS regime

Subhi Nahas

Subhi Nahas was speaking at a UN Security Council conference. Credit: Reuters

‘They are trying to track down every gay man – it’s like dominoes’

Two men who fled extremist-held territory in Syria have told the United Nations of the horrors of being a gay man under their oppressive regime.

Subhi Nahas and Adnan became the first people in history to address the UN Security Council on the persecution of discussed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.

Here are their stories.

Subhi Nahas

Gay Syrian refugee Subhi Nahas speaks at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York

Gay Syrian refugee Subhi Nahas speaks at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York

Subhi Nahas said he watched in fear as the al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front took over his hometown of Idlib and began to torture and executing men suspected of being gay.

Then, as Al Nusra gave way to militants of the so-called Islamic State, came the videos of gay men being hurled from buildings.

If the men survived the fall, they were stoned to death by onlookers, he said.

Subhi became resigned to a similar fate, he told the meeting.

He didn’t feel safe at home either, after his father learned of his sexuality.

I was terrified to go out. Nor was my home safe, as my father, who suspiciously monitored my every move, had learned I was gay.

I bear a scar on my chin as a token of his rage.

– SUBHI NAHAS

Nahas fled Syria to Lebanon, then moved to Turkey, but death threats followed him.

Death threats followed me to Turkey. A former school friend from Idlib named Khalil had joined Islamic State.

He relayed through a mutual friend that he wanted to kill me, aiming to go to paradise.

I was terrified.

– SUBHI NAHAS
Gay Syrian refugee Nahas stands with US Ambassador to the United Nations Sarah Power

Gay Syrian refugee Nahas stands with US Ambassador to the United Nations Sarah Power

Nahas has since settled in the US and works with the Organization for Refuge, Asylum, and Migration to help governments and refugee agencies build their capacity to protect LGBT refugees.

“There’s a community in the Middle East that is now standing up, and we want to push back,” Subhi Nahas said.

“We want our voices to be heard, we want our rights to be acknowledged, and we will prevail in the end.”

Adnan

militants prepare to push a man off a building.

Militants from the so-called Islamic State group have executed gay men by pushing them off buildings. Credit: Liveleak

An Iraqi man identified as Adnan told his story to the Security Council by telephone from a secret location, as he said he still feared for his life.

Adnan said IS were professionals at tracking down gay people through mobile phone and Facebook contacts of people they capture.

The group, he said, force captives to give up friends and lovers “like dominoes”.

In my society, being gay means death and when IS kills gays most people are happy because they think we are evil, and Islamic State gets a good credit for that.

They hunt them down one by one. When they capture people, they go through the person’s phone and contacts and Facebook friends. They are trying to track down every gay man.

And it’s like dominoes. If one goes, the others will be taken down too.

– ADNAN

Adnan said his own family turned against him after learning he was a target for Islamic State.

“My own family turned against me when IS was after me – if IS didn’t get me, members of my family would have done it.”

source: ITV NEWS

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