According to the official website for Middle East expert Walid Shoebat, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) married eleven of the men he recruited into the group; thereafter consummating the relationships via anal sex. This, along with other reports of same-sex marriages in ISIS-controlled lands, appears to suggest that ISIS has legalized same-sex marriage (for some) in the parts of Syria and Iraq that it occupies.
Although the Koran explicitly bans sodomy, Islamic leaders have previously issued fatwas allowing themselves or others to engage in homosexual sodomy. In 2012, the Gatestone Institute reported on a cleric, who, in issuing a fatwa for the act, maintained that though Islam prohibits sodomy, “jihad comes first.” Therefore, in certain situations, sodomy may be practiced. So far, most of the uses have involved hiding explosive devices.
In 2010, a video surfaced of Islamic cleric Abu al-Dema al-Qasab discussing the innovative tactic of placing explosive devices inside one’s rectum to avoid detection. In order for it to fit comfortably, al-Qasab proposed the subject be sodomized to widen the opening of the anus. Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, a member of al-Qaeda, put this plan into motion with his 2009 attempt to assassinate Saudi prince Muhammad bin Nayef. After the issuing of a fatwa, al-Asiri was allegedly sodomized by fellow jihadis before placing the device inside his rectum. During the attempt, the device exploded inside al-Asiri, killing him but only slightly injuring Nayef.
Today in Iraq and Syria, the use of “sodomy in the name of jihad” is slightly different and involves same-sex marriage.
Video of an Iraqi interrogation of a captured ISIS member, along with the testimony of twenty ISIS fighters in Syria, reveals the prevalence of sodomy and same-sex marriages in ISIS-controlled lands. According to one report, an ISIS leader going by the name Abu Ala’, issued a fatwa to allow himself to marry male recruits so that he could sodomize them on camera to obtain possible blackmail material. This was done to prevent a recruit’s future betrayal. The same-sex marriage was necessary since sexual intercourse before marriage is strictly prohibited in Islam.
Previously, same-sex marriages were not recognized or performed in Syria or Iraq. In Syria, homosexuality itself was criminalized.
ISIS’s apparent legalization, although involving only a select few, marks a major step for marriage equality in the Middle East. Previously, Israel was the only Middle East nation to recognize same-sex marriages.