Talk to A Gay Iraqi:
Haider Hamza Abdulrazaq
Haider Hamza Abdulrazaq
A young, well-educated and very politically-connected Iraqi refugee, Haider Hamza Abdulrazaq, has a finely-honed ability to grab attention from American citizens and the media. He has shared some of his life experiences on the web and merit a look by the gay community.
Let's look bits of Haider's online life. Here's a basic intro to him from a film production web site:
Being the son of a diplomat, Haider was born in Germany and grew up in East Africa and Europe. When he turned twelve, he moved back with his family to their hometown, Baghdad. Haider finished high school in Iraq and graduated from Baghdad University in 2006. One year later, he won a Fulbright scholarship and moved to the United States to obtain a master's degree in global security and conflict resolution.
When he was a teenager, Haider worked with the Iraqi Ministry of Information, talking to visiting dignitaries and foreign reporters. A few days after the end of major combat operations in 2003, he decided to join the mainstream media covering the world's focus on news of his country. At the age of nineteen he worked as a TV producer and photo editor for some of the world largest news agencies and networks including Reuters, ABC News and others. [...]
New to America and wanting to understand what the American people felt about their country's involvement in Iraq, Haider decided to travel across the US to talk to people about the war. He drove through 35 states setting up a mobile booth with a sign that says “Talk to an Iraqi.”
Over at his YouTube channel, Haider shares excerpts from the Showtime cable documentary on him and his talking tour:
Click here to read about Haider's Fulbright scholarship, click here for his Facebook page, click here to see the many regular Google hits for him, click here for GoogleBlogSearch hits, and click here to read his ManJam profile, in which he claims he's started a small group to help LGBT Iraqis.
And on July 24 at the Human Rights Campaign Equality Center in Washington, at an event co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch and the LGBT Bay Association, under the pseudonym "Hussam," Haider made his now infamous presentation of photos allegedly showing a gay Iraqi after he was supposedly beheaded by US armed forces.
Leading up to then, Haider/Hussam actively sought wide publicity, and he received some from the Washington Blade, which sent a veteran reporter to the public talk at HRC on July 24.
The gay Iraqi refugee's claims of atrocities perpetrated by American soldiers prompted an investigation by the US Army Criminal Investigative Command, which found no proof to back up his claims. From the Washington Blade:
[A US Army spokesman] noted that the refugee, who went by the alias “Hussam” during the public presentation in which he made the allegations, said in the statement that “his words were taken out of context, he was misunderstood due to language barriers and he was misquoted.”
Sorry, but I refuse to believe the controversy unleashed by this very educated and intelligent gay Iraqi was due to a language barrier and find his excuses as bogus as his claims that American forces chopped off the head of a gay Iraqi.
Husam/Haider is one cool and slick political and academic operative, whose smartness has taken him from the Iraqi Ministry of Information, to a Fulbright scholarship, work with ABC News, extensive USA media attention, and lots of speaking engagements.
Look at this quote he gave two years ago to a South Carolina newspaper, headlined "Iraqi looks for conversation":
"Some of my best friends are in the (U.S.) military, and they encouraged me to come to America," Hamza said.
After his lies presented at HRC in July, I wonder what those best friends of his in the US forces think of him now.
For more than a month, Hussam/Haider, who usually welcomes lots of attention from the media and American citizens, has refused to sit down with Washington Blade reporters to clear up the incredible lies and mess he created, while also resisting efforts by me and other bloggers to make sense of his words and actions. It seems as though he craves press coverage, as long as he doesn't have to face critical and skeptical questions.
As Hussam/Haider continues living in the USA, he is still making presentations to various college and community forums. Until he both clears up the many unanswered questions raised by his July talk at the Human Rights Campaign, and issues a full apology to the US armed forced he smeared, I hope all groups interested in having him speak, or any reporters seeking him out for stories, question him about the lies he spread and his adamant refusal to account for his outrageous behavior.