September 26, 2016 at 5:09 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Campaign against Hungarian migrant referendum references ISIS

Hungarian LGBT Alliance, gay news, Washington Blade

The Hungarian LGBT Alliance has used a picture of Islamic State militants throwing a man from a building in their campaign against a referendum that seeks to limit immigrants and migrants from entering the country. (Photo courtesy of the Hungarian LGBT Alliance)

A Hungarian LGBT advocacy group’s campaign against a referendum on whether the country should reject European Union migrant quotas includes a picture of Islamic State militants executing a man who was reportedly gay.

The campaign that the Hungarian LGBT Alliance launched last week features an image of militants pushing a blindfolded Syrian man off of the top of a building.

The Hungarian LGBT Alliance says the man who was executed was gay. ISIS has killed dozens of men in Syria and Iraq who have been accused of committing sodomy.

“Some refugees arriving in Europe had to leave their home country for being persecuted due to their sexual orientation or gender identity,” reads a caption that accompanies the image.

Tamás Dombos, a Hungarian LGBT Alliance board member, told the Washington Blade on Monday during a telephone interview from Budapest that his group is encouraging voters to participate in the Oct. 2 referendum. He said the Hungarian LGBT Alliance is suggesting they submit an “invalid” ballot in which they vote for both options or neither of them.

At least 50 percent of Hungarian voters need to participate in the referendum in order for it to be valid. Authorities will not count ballots they determine are “invalid.”

“Don’t be fooled by hate mongering, on October 2 vote invalid,” reads a second caption on the picture that shows ISIS militants throwing the gay Syrian man from the building.

Orban: ‘We do not want to import homophobia’

Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced in February that he would seek a referendum on whether Hungary should accept EU migrant quotas.

More than a million refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq and other countries have entered Europe since the summer of 2015.

The Hungarian LGBT Alliance said in a press release that announced its opposition to the referendum that 175,963 people applied for asylum in Hungary between January and September 2015. This figure compares to the 2,157 people who applied for asylum in the country in all of 2012.

Orban’s right-wing government’s decision to build a barbed wire fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia last year in order to prevent refugees and migrants from passing through the country sparked criticism throughout Europe.

Orban said last September that the migrants and refugees — the majority of whom are Muslim — are threatening “Europe’s Christian identity.” The Hungarian LGBT Alliance notes in its press release that Orban has also referenced last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the Arab and North African men who sexually assaulted hundreds of women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve and anti-gay attitudes among refugees and migrants in his recent comments in support of the referendum.

“We do not want our daughters, our wives to be harassed like in Cologne,” said Orban, according to the Hungarian LGBT Alliance. “We do not want to import homophobia, anti-Semitism and criminality. We do not want masses of migrants.”

Dombos told the Blade that Orban’s decision to call for a referendum is an attempt to distract attention away from “all the nasty things” his government is doing. Dombos also defended his organization’s decision to use a picture of ISIS militants throwing a gay man from a building in its campaign.

“We think it’s important to say something,” Dombos told the Blade.

A recent poll indicates 54 percent of voters plan to take part in the referendum. It also notes 79 percent of them have said they oppose the EU migrant quotas.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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