MP slams U.S. consulate in Erbil for raising LGBT flag

Erbil ( An Iraqi parliamentarian has slammed the United States consulate in Erbil for raising the gay pride flag alongside the U.S. flag, saying the action was not suitable to take in an Islamic region.

Alrassid news website quoted Habib al-Tarfi, an MP from the Iraqi holy province of Karbala, saying that the step taken by the consulate was “shameful” to raise the flag in “ a religious Iraqi province and during the holy month of Ramadan”, saying he “would have burned the consulate” had it been at his constituency.

Tarfi urged the Kurdistan Region Government to take a stance regarding the incident.

In an official statement, the consulate said Saturday it was raising the famous rainbow flag in solidarity with LGBT rights and in commemoration of the Pride Month celebration, which marks the anniversary of the lesbians, gays, trans-sexuals’ and bisexuals’ Pride Parade in San Francisco 1978.

Homosexual relationships are strictly prohibited in both Sunni and Shia Islam.

Though the Iraqi constitution does not clearly incriminate homosexuality, reports by Human Rights Watch had told of kidnappings, tortures and murders targeting LGBTs early 2009. Under late president Saddam Hussein, a campaign was launched to incriminate adultery, homosexuality and rape, demanding execution as a punishment. A report by the Observer late 2009 counted 680 murders of homosexual victims between 2004 and 2009.

Islamic State militants, who proclaimed an Islamist “caliphate” in 2014 in Iraq, have also reportedly sentenced a number of men suspected of homosexuality to death by throwing them from rooftops.

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