An Islamist group identified as “Young Islamic Defense” has flooded Turkey’s capital Ankara with posters allegedly quoting a Muslim teaching that calls for Muslims to “kill the perpetrator and the receiver on sight” should they ever see an LGBT person.
The posters surface a week after the Turkish government attacked the now-traditional Istanbul Pride Parade with tear gas.
Multiple translations have surfaced of the posters, which generated significant conversation on social media in the past week. The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet translates the poster as stating: “Should those who engage in ugly behavior and adhere to the practice of the people of Lot be killed?” Deutsche Welle‘s translation reads: “kill whoever does the ugly business of the people of Lot, whether he may perpetuate it or lets it happen.” The website GayStarNews translates the poster as reading: “May you see the doers of the dirty works of Lot, kill the perpetrator and the receiver on sight.” The poster features a photo of revelers flying the rainbow flag and some social media information (the pages on the poster have since been taken down).
Hurriyet notes that “people of Lot” is a reference to the Old Testament, Lot being a Biblical figure who failed to save Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. “Many Muslims believe that the decline of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stemmed from the sexual preferences of their inhabitants,” the newspaper explains. It adds that, in an online statement before their account was suspended, the “Young Islamic Defense” group claimed their intention was to “respond to the immoral actions” of LGBT people, particularly this year when international pride celebrations happened to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Bizarrely, officials in Ankara denied knowing anything about these posters. Speaking to Deutsche Welle, the Ankara city council denied the posters were their responsibility, referring the publication to the Cankaya neighborhood council. An official on that council called the incident “embarrassing,” blaming the Ankara city council:
Ankara city council really should be on top of it with all their resources. This is one of the biggest cities in the country. They should be on top of this, and they want to pass the blame to us? It’s embarrassing… It’s embarrassing for them as much as it is embarrassing for us. And personally, I find it very saddening. Such things shouldn’t be happening in this day and age.
DW noted that the group received significant support for their anti-LGBT efforts on social media.
The posters surface shortly after violence erupted at the now-traditional pride parade in Istanbul, which organizers state they received permission to put together and were only told the day of that they could not congregate in Taksim Square. “We thought this was going to be a ‘normal,’ peaceful pride walk, but the police welcomed us with tear gas,” the group organizing the parade stated on Facebook.