By Ruth Dudley Edwards World Last updated: September 14th, 2012
I know Nick Clegg is worked up about the domestic “bigots” who oppose gay marriage. Though I am happy to dance at gay weddings, in our complex and turbulent world it doesn’t seem a major priority. Rather than arguing about something that since the introduction of civil partnerships should not be at the top of the “urgent” pile, Clegg and the rest of us might be better occupied wondering what’s to be done about the foreign “bigots” who want to maim, kill or generally intimidate anyone with homosexual inclinations. Not to speak of their British-based supporters.
The World Service tells us that law enforcement agencies in Iraq are systematically persecuting and murdering gay men and women. It’s thought that numbers run into the hundreds over the past few years. Even the UN has gone so far as to say that state inaction means the Iraqi government is a perpetrator.
Today, I learn from The Guardian that in the Malaysian government’s efforts to cure the “problem”, teachers and parents are being trained to spot signs of homosexuality in children.
The Teachers' Foundation of Malaysia has explained that their seminars are “multi-religious and multicultural. After all, all religions are basically against that type of behaviour." The give-away in boys, apparently, is apparently a liking for tight, light-coloured clothes and large handbags. For girls, the clues are having no affection for men.
What they intend when they’ve identified their targets is not yet clear. Last year saw the experiment of a camp for "effeminate" boys but we don’t know if there was the hoped-for result or if they just sneakily changed their clothing preferences and held on to their inclinations. We have to hope that the penalties for gay sex of caning or imprisonment for up to twenty years will not be imposed on children. And that further Islamification does not introduce the death penalty.
The Islamist objective is to do whatever it takes to eradicate homosexuality. Memorably, in 2007, President Ahmadinejad said at Columbia University in response to criticism of the treatment of gays: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like you do in your country… In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who has told you that we have!"
Sadly, he had been misinformed, so Iran has had to work overtime to achieve an earthly exclusively heterosexual paradise by killing gays or terrifying them into flight. The rules are quaint: for reasons I can’t quite grasp, an unmarried man who plays an "active role" will be flogged 100 times if the sex was consensual, while the one who was "passive" can be hanged, married or not.
George Galloway explained the following year that "All the [British] papers seem to imply that you get executed in Iran for being gay. That's not true." He worried that people like Peter Tatchell were being used “as the pink end of the war machine”.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are less sanguine than Galloway and persist in believing the evidence that quite a few young men being dangled off cranes in Iran have died for having homosexual intercourse. Now wouldn’t it be good to hear Nick Clegg pat the majority of the British public on the back for their tolerance and reasoned debate on gay marriage, while promising that vicious Islamist attitudes to gays is a matter of greater priority even among Lib Dems.