- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Islamic State terrorists have taken particular joy in killing gays since the group’s post-2011 rise to power in the Middle East and Africa.

Citing Islamic law to justify extermination, the group — led by radical cleric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — has publicized a series of videos showing the assassinations of homosexuals and has sent out social media messages urging Muslims to do the same.

The Islamic State in December 2014 posted its legal code on social media. Punishment for homosexuality: death for all participants.

Omar Maheen, who massacred 49 people early Sunday at the Pulse gay nightclub, pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi via a 911 call during his rampage. Police killed him while rushing the club to rescue hostages.

The Salafist Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has publicly executed gays by stoning, shooting, beheading, tossing off rooftops and torture.

Its henchmen say they are following strict Sunni Islamic law, or Sharia, a code that many Muslims want to impose worldwide, polls show.

“According to majority interpretations of Islamic shari’a law, homosexuality is indeed punishable by death,” says the Middle East Media Research Institute, which has complied a library documenting the Islamic State’s killings of gays. “This has been clearly stated by well-known and highly influential Sunni Muslim authorities, sheikhs, professors, and Muslim Brotherhood leaders. “

The research institute added, “Such punishments are also based on the Biblical story of Lot [Book of Genesis], which is often cited by both mainstream sheikhs and ISIS to justify the killing of homosexuals. These statements and teachings regarding the death penalty for homosexuality appear in Muslim school curricula, on mainstream television, and in mosque sermons across the Arab and Muslim world, and are also expressed by Muslim authorities in the West.”

MEMRI has distributed video clips of sheikhs telling their followers such edicts as, “Some say we should throw them from a high place” and “That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.”

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi is one of Sunni Muslim’s most influential clerics as head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, based in Qatar.

The Egyptian theologian said on Al Jazeera TV in 2006 that there is disagreement within Islam on whether gays should be treated as criminals and put into prison or executed by throwing them from a high place, as God did with the people of Sodom.

“Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement,” he said, according to a MEMRI translation.

The Islamic State has enforced this harsh interpretation.

Last year, it beheaded two suspected homosexuals in Ninawa, Iraq.

That March, it released a video of the public execution of a gay man in Raqqa province, Syria, via a three-story toss. Spectators then gathered around the body and stoned it.

In a town near Aleppo, Syria, a band of executioners stoned a suspected homosexual to death as a crowd watched and a religious police car idled nearby.

Other Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda and its affiliate in Yemen, have harshly condemned homosexuality.

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