Two 22-year-old friends "persecuted" for being transgender and gay, reportedly left their homes in Russia to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, unaware of the terror group’s cruel treatment of homosexuals.
Viktor E., who prefers to be known as Viktoria, and her friend Alexei T. claimed they had suffered persecution and abuse in their home village of Kamchatka Krai in east Russia, The Daily Mail reports. They reportedly said the abuse came from family as well as locals.
It is not surprising that they would look to leave Russia, considering the country's infamous anti-LGBT laws. Russia is known for intimidating and arresting LGBT activists, and in 2013, a federal law was banning the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors, The Council for Global Equality notes. Unsurprisingly, the European section of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) rated Russia as the least protective country in Europe for LGBT individuals.
However, ISIS appears to be even worse than Russia when it comes to accepting members of the LGBT community.
The transgender female and her homosexual friend were supposedly "captivated" by Islamic State fundamentalist propaganda and assumed they would be welcomed by the group after watching a recruitment video online. They both have reportedly headed to Syria in hopes of finding acceptance in ISIS.
The pair has now been dubbed the "battle trannies" by the Moscow media and are accused of maintaining contact with armed extremist groups, reported Daily Mail. They are said to be unaware that the terror group is known to throw homosexuals to their deaths from tall buildings or stone them to death in front of crowds.
“We would always be interested in stopping people from joining a terrorist organization but in this case there is a double motive, as our information is that this would not be accepted if they managed to get all the way to Syria," Alexander Vinogradov, a Russian police source, told the Daily Mail. “It is unlikely that they would live very long once their sexual orientation was revealed.”
Officials explained that Islamic State group has been staging an online recruitment campaign targeting those who feel out of place. They say it is unlikely that the terrorist organization had transgender people or homosexuals in mind when making the appeal.
Viktoria’s aunt said her nephew had been transitioning to become a woman before converting to radical Islam. She claims she told Viktoria that she would likely be killed if she went dressed as a woman, but Viktoria responded that she believed the Islamic State group would be accepting, according to the Daily Mail.
Reports say the friends have left for Syria, although an unconfirmed police source told local Kamchatka news that they are now in a mental health institution.
Russian police confirmed that both Viktor and Alexei have been on a wanted list for those involved in terrorist or extremist activity after they converted to radical Islam.
Photo Credit: Via Daily Mail