Iraqi politicians call for expulsions after embassies fly LGBT flag

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05/19/2020

Iraqi political leaders have issued condemnations and called for the expulsion of diplomats following a decision by a number of foreign embassies in the country to fly the rainbow LGBT flag in honour of International Day Against Homophobia. The European Union, the World Bank and the Canadian and UK embassies all raised the flag on Sunday, a date that commemorates the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) removed the designation of homosexuality as a mental illness. Iraqi politicians across the spectrum slammed the embassies’ decision in response. Although homosexuality is not illegal in Iraq, the subject is highly taboo in the country. On Sunday evening, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that homosexuality went against “the noble morals of all divine religions” and said all missions in Iraq had to “adhere by the laws of the country, and to follow diplomatic norms”. The influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr joined in the fray, too, condemning homosexuality as a “mental illness” and calling for Iraqi embassies in European countries to raise the flags of Muhammad and Jesus in response.

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