Orlando Massacre Isn't the First ISIS-Inspired Killing of LGBTQ People
In a statement broadcast Sunday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the mass shooting at Pulse — a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. With at least 49 dead and 53 others wounded, it is now considered the deadliest shooting on American soil. The shooting is presumed to have been spurred by anti-LGBT views — but it's not the only alleged ISIS attack born from such motivations.
In 2014, ISIS released a recruitment video in which it condemned gay people as the "worst of all creatures," according to Advocate.
The terrorist organization has a history of carrying out and publicizing homophobic attacks on LGBTQ people throughout its Middle Eastern territories, making this type of crime an emerging human rights crisis. As of August 2015, over 30 gay people had been executed by the group.
ISIS allegedly finds their gay victims through cell phone address books and social media accounts.
It's also possible that ISIS uses accusations of homosexuality to publicly discredit others. Often, gay people throughout the world feel they cannot be open about their sexuality for fear of societal stigmas and harassment. "In my society, being gay means death and when [ISIS] kills gays most people are happy because they think we are evil, and [ISIS] gets a good credit for that," an Iraqi man who went by Adnan said at a briefing of LGBT issues for the U.N. Security Council last August, according to the Independent.
There are several instances in which ISIS militants have publicly executed gay men by throwing them off roofs or by stoning. In June 2015, the militants dropped three gay men to their death from a 100-foot-tall building and released images of the execution as part of their media propaganda. A similar murder of two other men also occurred in January 2015, and the deaths were recorded and captioned with a biblical reference to the towns Sodom and Gomorrah.
Two years ago, two young Syrian men were stoned to death by ISIS over allegations of being gay.
In March 2015, ISIS decapitated three allegedly gay men in the middle of a traffic roundabout, although the victims' sexual orientations were not confirmed.
"My father encouraged me not to come back to Syria, because he knows that if I do I will be killed," a gay Syrian refugee now living in Turkey told Vocativ. "The real victims are those still in Syria."