Homosexuality is not illegal in Iraq but discrimination is widespread and LGBT+ people are frequently victims of vigilante justice and honour killings.
According to Al Arabiya, Iraqi Shia political leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who is leader of the Sadrist Movement and the Saraya al-Salam militia, made the comments on Twitter on Saturday, March 28.
He wrote: “One of the most appalling things that have caused this epidemic is the legalisation of same-sex marriage.
“Hence, I call on all governments to repeal this law immediately and without any hesitation.”
But the glaringly obvious point missed by the Iraqi cleric was that the country, where there have been 506 confirmed cases and 42 deaths from coronavirus, has not legalised same-sex marriage.
China, where COVID-19 originated, also does not have marriage equality, and neither does Italy, which has been ravaged by the virus, with more than 9,000 deaths.
Al-Sadr’s followers were recently criticised after hundreds gathered in a mosque, chanting “coronavirus has terrified you”, despite the nationwide lockdown announced last week in Iraq.
Kious Kelly, a 48-year-old nurse manager at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan, has become the first nurse known to die during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging New York City.
Remembered as a kind and loving man, Kelly’s colleagues and family are condemning the hospital, alleging that he lacked proper protective equipment (PPE) despite working directly with nurses and patients exposed to the virus. Photos posted on social media showed nurses wearing black plastic trash bags to try to protect themselves.
Hospitals across the nation have struggled to keep up with the sudden surge in demand for medical supplies, hospital beds, ventilators, and personnel. Cities across the nation have started converting large buildings like convention centers and hotels into makeshift hospitals.
“This did not need to happen, you did not have to die,” one of his co-workers posted on Facebook announcing his death. “He is full of life days ago and today he is gone. This is a life lost in vain. Many lives are sacrificed by the poor management of this COVID-19 crisis. This has to stop. Lives over profits. Humanity over politics.”
“I’m also very angry with the Mount Sanai Health System for not protecting him. We do not have enough PPE, we do not have the correct PPE, and we do not have the appropriate staffing to handle this pandemic,” another posted. “And I do not appreciate representatives of this health system saying otherwise on the news.”
“The public needs to know that we are not prepared, that this is serious, that they need to stay home to flatten the curve.”
People in Ghana undertook two days of fasting and praying this week, on Wednesday and Thursday, at the insistence of Ghana’s president and the chief imam.
While this was supposed to be a time to pray for “Allah’s intervention against the coronavirus”, Ghana’s Muslim Mission couldn’t resist the opportunity to blame LGBT+ people for the global health crisis.Calling on Ghanaians to pray for those infected with the coronavirus, and for those in quarantine or isolation because of the disease, the Muslim Mission of Ghana – as one of the five messages it broadcast to the nation – said that “abominable” LGBT+ people are to blame.
“It is important for us to acknowledge our sins against the world,” the Muslim Mission said, “especially the most abominable acts such as homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender, destruction of water bodies and forests.”
Repenting for the “sin” of “homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender” will “bring us Allah’s mercies and intervention in fighting the pandemic in Ghana and the rest of the world”, the Islamic organisation added.
It was Ghana’s chief imam, Sheikh Dr Osamanu Sharubutu, who last week used his national address about coronavirus to call LGBT+ people “demonic”.
More than 90 people were arrested last year in Egypt for alleged same-sex conduct under the country’s debauchery law. Despite this, officials have suggested that they do “not recognise” the existence of queer people at all.
Earlier this month, a number of member states at the United Nations Human Rights Council recommended Egypt end arrests and discrimination of LGBT+ people.
The country refused to comply and bizarrely suggested it “does not recognize the terms mentioned in this recommendation”, according to Human Rights Watch.
That organisation has warned that the “outrageous” response could end up putting the lives of LGBT+ people wrongly imprisoned in Egypt in jeopardy as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates.
Hundreds of people have been arrested in Egypt for their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity, the human rights organisation has said.
The government began a crackdown on LGBT+ people in 2013 and over the last four years, queer people have been subjected to violent assault, torture, forced anal exams and arbitrary detention.
They also face challenges in accessing vital services including healthcare, housing and education and many struggle to find jobs.
In mid-March British actor Idris Elba tested positive for coronavirus, he announced in a video posted to social media: “I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic.”
Elba said he didn’t have any symptoms but got tested when he found out he was exposed to someone who tested positive.
Elba is most famous for his roles in Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom, Pacific Rim, Fast & Furious, The Dark Tower, Thor, and too many more to list
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