The brutal murders of allegedly gay men by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which claims the killings were lawful executions for the "crime" of homosexuality under its unprecedented interpretation of Sharia Law, have been documented in what amounts to a perverse "explainer" article published by ISIS in its propaganda magazine last Thursday, reports NBC News.
The ISIS article and photos were published in its magazine, Dabiq. In addition to displaying images of the men's horrific slayings, the propaganda piece also spelled out the militants' rationale for committing the atrocities.
By "clamping down on sexual deviance," ISIS says it will save the Muslim world from the "downward spiral" of morality that the West has allegedly suffered since the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Some LGBT and human rights activists and journalists have complained that mainstream have given the militant occupiers along the Iraq-Syria border only meager coverage in terms of the growing number of antigay atrocities, such as the tragic death of a middle-aged man last month.
That victim may have survived being pushed while seated in a plastic chair from a seven-story building, as was reported by numerous news outlets. News reports, video, and photos from that execution seemed to indicate that the man may not only have been alive after hitting the ground, but may have been conscious before he was finally put to death by a stone-hurling crowd.
NBC News' coverage Sunday of the recent executions of allegedly gay young men in ISIS-controlled regions of the Iraq-Syria border area put heavy emphasis on apparently newfound veracity of reports about the executions, based on the confirmation of the facts by a private security firm.
However, London's Daily Mail newspaper, several LGBT news organizations, as well as human rights groups (not least among them, London-headquartered Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) had previously reported many of the same details of the executions now being reported by mainstream news outlets.
Flashpoint Partners is the security firm that "verified" news of the executions for NBC News. As it disclosed in its report Sunday about the ISIS propaganda piece, NBC News retains Flashpoint as a consultant.
Reports of the atrocities ISIS has committed against people because they were perceived to be gay have now been published and broadcast by news organizations worldwide, ranging from interest-focused media outlets and now by major American network news organizations. Although it's not likely that will dissuade ISIS militants to change their ways, greater coverage of atrocities committed against LGBT people may send a message that much of society values human lives equally--regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
NBC News cited an expert in the history of Shariah Law, who noted that the practice of throwing men accused of homosexuality to their deaths from the tallest building available is a "very obscure" reading of hardline Islam.
"What ISIS is doing in displaying this kind of thing is twofold," researcher, Charlie Winterof the London-based anti-extremism think tank, Quilliam told NBC News. "It's trying to shock and horrify the rest of the world but it's also trying to give the impression that the Shariah that it practices is the purest form of Shariah."