Metro Weekly

Anti-gay ISIS executioner Abu Omer captured in Iraq

Man dubbed "White Beard" was seen in photos and videos overseeing executions for violations of Sharia law

Abu Omer (second from right) – Photo: ABNA 24.

An ISIS operative known for his extreme cruelty, particularly towards LGBTQ individuals, has reportedly been captured by security forces in Iraq.

According to The Mirror, Abu Omer, a jihadist known as “White Beard,” became infamous for overseeing executions of those who are believed to have violated ISIS’s extreme interpretation of Sharia law.

He has been caught on camera appearing to stone civilians in Mosul, Iraq, to death. Omer was reportedly also present when people suspected of being gay were thrown from buildings, and when ISIS fighters executed people for offenses like blasphemy.

Local authorities told the AhlulBayt News Agency that Omer was arrested on Jan. 1 after residents turned him into police.

In March 2015, pictures of three men being beheaded appeared to show Omer using a microphone to read aloud a list of charges against the blindfolded men, who were eventually forced to their knees and executed.

Though severely weakened in Iraq, ISIS maintains a presence in some enclaves across the country. In areas where ISIS is strongest, human rights observers have expressed concerns over the killing of people suspected of being LGBTQ.

Since 2014, reports of executions and stonings of those suspected of homosexuality has increased in areas controlled by ISIS. Family members have been urged to report their loved ones, for fear that homosexuality will bring “shame” upon the family’s reputation.

A similar dynamic has been at play in the majority-Muslim republic of Chechnya, where family members have reportedly been encouraged to engage in “honor killings” of loved ones who have been arrested or tortured on suspicion of engaging in homosexual behavior.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com