Recent photos out of the Middle East showing ISIS militants casually throwing gay men to their deaths from the tops of buildings have terrified LGBTs living in the region, but it's not the acts themselves that have inspired fear.
It's the blasé attitude and blank expressions from onlookers that are most horrific, a gay Syrian man and LGBT activist named Nour told CNN this week.
"It's too much to watch, and people are just standing there in these images and watching, and they are not doing anything, and their facial expressions are really scary because they are not even scared of what is going on," he said in a report released today, showing explicit images of the crimes. "They might be a little bit excited or maybe happy to get rid of homosexuals in the city."
CNN reports the victims, accused of being gay and ruthlessly murdered because of it, are among at least half a dozen documented men to have been similarly killed by ISIS.
The report continues:
Article 520 of the Syrian Penal Code of 1949 states: "Any unnatural sexual intercourse shall be punished with a term of imprisonment of up to three years."
Nour left Syria in 2012, before ISIS took over huge swaths of the country, after seeing a video of two men being beheaded. According to the voice on the clip, they are accused of being spies. Then toward the end, the voice speaks about "shaking the throne of God."
"Whenever we hear this in video or audio, we know that this is exactly meant for gay people," he says. "It was the moment of clarity, the moment of understanding; this place is not safe anymore."
"LGBT people in Syria need help, and they need to be supported," said Nour, who is currently living in Istanbul while seeking asylum in America.
"We tried to reach out to some groups, international entities, and they said that LGBT people in Syria are not our priority, and that would mean that our lives are not worthy for them to rescue."