French Troops Save 2 Gay Mali Men From Execution
Two men from Mali who were scheduled to be executed for allegedly having gay sex were saved by the French military, Gay Star News reports.
Islamist extremists took over northern territories of the landlocked West African country last year but its former colonial ruler, France, along with neighboring African nations, sent their military to Mali to intervene. France deployed 3,500 troops to help clear northern Mali of extreme Islamic rule.
After the Muslim rebels had taken over the town of Gao, they enforced a strict form of Sharia law, the moral code and religious law of Islam, which calls for thieves to be amputated and for gay men to be executed.
Muslims in other parts of the world have condemned the rebels, who destroyed sacred grave sites and ancient manuscripts in the fabled Malian city of Timbuktu. A Muslim LGBT rights advocate based in the United Kingdom told Gay Star News that "homosexuality is not illegal or forbidden in the Quran, it is not condemned as haram."
"Fundamental Islamists, having been indoctrinated by religious leaders who impose their own views and interpretations on homosexuality, have become obsessed with the idea and this impels them to commit such atrocities and crimes against humanity," Omar Kudds told the website. "If the French led forces had not rescued, found and freed these two Malian men who were about to be executed today, their plight and deaths would have gone unnoticed."
"The question must be asked, of how many other gay men are executed, tortured, in the false name of Islam, without this being reported or noticed," Kudds added. "Muslims must be reminded and educated that only Allah can pass judgment, not mere mortal men, and that Islam is a religion of compassion and forgiveness, not of murder."
While the extremist groups controlled north Mali, Badou Ahmed and Ag Oussman were set to be put to death. Ahmed described to Reuters his ordeal of having been arrested for allegedly having gay sex and barely managing to escape death after the French troops liberated Gao.
"During the trial, there were no defense witnesses, it was controlled," Ahmed said. "They told us they were going to cut our throats for being homosexual, even though another man said that without witness testimony, we would not be."
Oussman says he was awaiting to be executed for being gay but was also freed moments before he was scheduled to be executed.
"I was in prison and I was waiting to be executed the next day when I heard bombing throughout the night," Oussman told Reuters. "In the morning, a crowd arrived, breaking my cell door to get me out, they told me they that I was free, the city is liberated from Islamists."
Although same-sex activity is legal in the conservative African nation, a 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project poll found that 98 percent of the country's adults opposed homosexuality. Mali had the highest disapproval rate among 45 countries surveyed.