Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Horizon

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Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Horizon

Post by DJKeefy »

Community members are being arrested, 'support' in the media is prohibited and rights groups won’t protect them.

Now a bill before parliament makes homosexuality an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Ahmed Alaa sits in an Egyptian detention center, awaiting trial. Last week his remand was extended by 15 days. Alaa was among those arrested in September for waving a rainbow flag at a concert by the Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila.

Waving the flag is not against the law in Egypt, nor is being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. But that could change soon, if a law is passed making homosexuality an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The bill is currently before the parliament, and is unlikely to be rejected by a majority there. In the meantime, the Egyptian state prosecutor’s office is resorting to imposing other relevant laws that ban “the spreading of wantonness” and “harming public security.”

What does homosexuality have to do with public security? “It’s a disgraceful disease,” says Makram Mohammed Ahmed, a leading Egyptian journalist and chairman of the body that regulates the country’s media. If it’s a disease, it has the potential to harm public health, which could lead to general turmoil and thereby undermine stability. It’s surprising, though, to hear such a belligerent position coming from Ahmed, who is known as a liberal intellectual and formerly headed the large Dar al-Hilal publishing house and edited Al-Musawar, a major newspaper.

Ahmed remarks were part of the explanation he offered for the injunction that was recently issued by the regulatory council he heads, prohibiting the press from publishing anything that could be construed as supportive of the LGBT community. “A homosexual may only be invited to appear in the media in order to express remorse, or to acknowledge that his behavior is inappropriate,” he noted.

While making his announcement, Ahmed was flanked by clerics and officials from the Al-Azhar Mosque, who declared that homosexuality constitutes a serious violation of holy law and goes against what God intended when he created mankind.

For their part, the Egyptian security forces don’t generally seek out activists from the community. In Cairo there are bars and clubs that are known as havens for LGBT individuals, but for the most part they are not subject to attacks by the government. However, once in a while, especially when pressure from religious circles grows, state authorities flex their muscles and carry out some type of action for show.

For example, in 2001, the police raided the Queen Boat, a floating nightclub known as a gay-friendly hangout, which is permanently docked by the Nile corniche; several dozen people attending a party on board were arrested, including a few foreigners. In 2014, a video was posted on YouTube showing the wedding of two men in Egypt. The authorities arrested the people who posted the video and one member of the couple. The second man managed to escape.

Predictably, such persecution is not met with any civil protest. In 2011, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights declined to defend the country’s LGBT community, arguing that “if the organization embraces the community, it will spell the end for all the other human rights that are left in Egypt.” Hisham Qasim, chairman of the group at the time, explained that there were red lines that it couldn’t cross, and that in order to preserve its legitimacy, it could not act in areas that were not a matter of consensus among “the entire public.”

Under heavy international pressure to improve its human rights record, Egypt is prepared to expand the rights of Copts and it feels that is a sufficient response to the U.S. Congress’ call for the country to take steps to halt the wave of terror attacks directed against Christians. But in Cairo’s view, LGBT rights are a domestic matter that not only touches on Islamic religious law, but also on preservation of Egypt’s independence as a sovereign nation.

Egyptian MP Mustafa Bakri, a Nasserist with no religious ties, has asserted that homosexuality is a Western plot devised to prove that Egyptian youth is degenerate. On another occasion, Bakri decried homosexuality as a scheme whose goal is to dictate Western values to Egypt – i.e., that international criticism isn’t meant to improve human rights in Egypt, but rather to impose a code of conduct that will destroy the country’s traditions, religion and customs, and therefore fighting this scourge must be seen as a national mission. Bakri has thus called for the dozens who were arrested at the rock concert in September to be tried (some already have been), and also for those who permitted the concert to take place to face the same consequences.

Egyptian LGBT activists have decided to go underground and curtail its presence on social media. The community’s main Facebook account, Rainbow Egypt, recently stopped updating, and in the last posts to the site, people were generally being more cautious about how they expressed themselves.
The writer of one post did talk mockingly about how in Egypt it’s okay to issue a religious ruling permitting a husband to have sexual relations with his dead wife, but homosexual relations are forbidden. The writer was referring to the ruling issued last month by an Al Azhar University expert on religious law. It caused a major uproar, in religious circles as well, and the man was dismissed from his position.

The anti-LGBT crackdown as well as the moves to rein in some of the more outrageous clerics are part and parcel of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi’s efforts to introduce a new religious discourse in his country. To this end, Sissi is trying in equal measure to go after all those perceived to be on society’s fringes. As he sees it, if religious extremism is to be uprooted, LGBT rights must be reduced in tandem. A balance must be preserved.


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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by Dusak »

They speak as if the gay people are a modern day creation, not willing to accept that it has been around for a few thousand years, if not longer, well before so called Western interests existed that could or want to contaminate other countries and influence the populations. Homosexuality was here before any modern or know of past religions existed, but they still continue to operate a deleting attitude towards things that they see as unworthy as being part of their religions. Taking and dealing in drugs is wrong, creating far more death and misery than homosexual acts can. Sex with underage kids is wrong, creating far more misery and hurt towards the victims. Female genital mutilation is wrong, causing, at times, death, serious injuries, infections and hurt towards another innocent human being without a voice or choice in the matter. Random imprisonments are wrong, along with torture and death sentencing without charge or proof of any wrongdoing and all forms of human rights abuses. Cure all these and this country would stand alone as an example of how to get it right, but this ridiculous attitude towards a subject that nearly all other countries now except as being exceptable, well, its just a giant step backwards. IMO.

I have no clue as to how many people come over here for a quick same sex holiday per year, but come they do, so would such a law, if implemented, cause those tourists to spend their money elsewhere? A possible fifteen years sentencing is a lot of life time to loose, no matter what the nationality. So could, in theory, slowly impact on tourism. And I suppose that there are going to be no surprises in the kind of people that you would expect to be against such a law voicing support. After all, who would want to be seen as a supporter of such a law, indicating that you must be, in the eyes of the bigots, that they too must be a secret homosexual, or they just do not want to loose their well paid jobs that give them and their families a comfortable life. My own recent experience has taught me that another person only has to say a few words of complete untruths to make another persons life difficult, although I was lucky, having a friend that was able to set the record straight which was excepted with a begrudgingly given apology. But many thousands are not so lucky.
Life is your's to do with as you wish- do not let other's try to control it for you. Count Dusak- 1345.

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by newcastle »

Now a bill before parliament makes homosexuality an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

It will be interesting to see the actual wording of this law. You can legislate, as some countries do, against any form of homosexual behaviour, promotion of homosexual lifestyle etc....but how can you sensibly criminalise what people are? Apart from that, it might render 5% of the population liable to arrest and imprisonment.

It would make more sense to make being an atheist a criminal offense. At least atheism is an attitude of mind which could, in theory, be changed.

More worrying is that Egyptian politicians, backed by their religious and medical colleagues, are still adamant that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice promoted by the west to undermine their society. Apart from the fact that this flies in the face of the vast majority of psycho-medical opinion, it also ignores the evidence of history. As Dusak mentions, homosexuality has been recorded throughout human history and is a phenomenon not-uncommon in the animal kingdom as a whole. Of course, there's no shortage of psychologists (not just in Egypt) you can wheel out to say they can "cure" homosexuality. The technical term for this theory is "bullsh*t"

I expect the legislation will actually criminalise acts of the body, in the widest of terms, rather than inclinations of the mind....although you can never be sure what absurdity Egyptian legislators are capable of coming up with.

That the Egyptian Human Rights Organisations do not campaign against perceived abuses of gays in understandable, if regrettable. It would simply result in them being shut down completely, to the detriment of the many other aspects of human rights in Egypt which require a spotlight shone upon them.

The biggest problem for Egypt might be the backlash of the developed world, not just tourists, but the scientific and cultural world, when they see a country of unparalleled history, and an important player nowadays in the region, abandon rationality, adopt pseudo-scientific gobbledegook and descend into bigotry.

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by crewmeal »

Sadly the world is full of bigots of every kind and in this case I don't think it will make any difference to the average gay Egyptian. They will be more careful, however it won't stop the authorities carrying out entrapment purges when some cleric decides to open their mouth. Other countries fair worse such as Saudi, Iran, various African countries where you can be given the death sentence for being gay where tourism is almost zero, but in Egypt's case tourism is everything especially the Red Sea resorts. If future laws like this are carried out out then the West will think twice before coming to Egypt.

Incidentally The US Vice President Pence has been quoted as saying that gay people should be hanged.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 03321.html

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by newcastle »

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He's not alone.....according to the gay press who widely circulated this meme :lol: :lol:

If Egypt adopts draconian anti-gay legislation it may give an opportunity for gay Egyptians to travel to the west, "out" themselves and claim asylum on the grounds they will be persecuted if they return.

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by crewmeal »

If Egypt adopts draconian anti-gay legislation it may give an opportunity for gay Egyptians to travel to the west, "out" themselves and claim asylum on the grounds they will be persecuted if they return.
This happens a lot with Iranians claiming asylum in the UK. Sadly some are not truly gay and use it as an excuse to enter the UK. The Home Office have now cracked down on this, which may or may not prevent asylum for genuine people.

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by newcastle »

A recent article in the Washington Post referred to the growing pressure on gays to quit Egypt :

Activists say that many in their community have left the country in recent weeks — or are considering doing so soon.

“We’re getting lots of messages from people seeking help getting out of the country,” said Mohamed, the activist, who has left Egypt for work and is planning to return only when it is safe. “In the next few months, more people will leave and seek asylum outside Egypt"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/mi ... 25018bc33d

There has been a substantial increase in UK asylum claims in recent years :

The number of refugees claiming asylum in Britain because being gay puts them in danger in their own country has increased by 450 per cent in just five years.

Figures show that 1,115 people claimed asylum due to their sexuality in 2014 compared with just 200 in 2010.

The increase follows a Supreme Court judgment in 2010 which greatly widened the scope of protection for homosexual asylum seekers.

The ruling concluded that if a person has to live discreetly and cannot be themselves for fear of persecution then they are a refugee.

But Conservative MP David Burrowes said its very difficult for the Home Office to confirm the claimants are gay.

He told MailOnline: 'It is hard to prove your sexuality and ensure genuine claims are successful.'

The Supreme Court ruling in 2010 was greatly praised as an example of British tolerance and humanity.

Mrs May was among those who welcomed the ruling, adding that it was unacceptable to send people home and expect them to hide their sexuality.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... eases.html

Obviously, the Home Office should, and does, scrutinise claims very carefully and it would be difficult for an Egyptian to provide objective evidence of his homosexuality...he's likely to have led a very closeted life in Egypt. But assuming the claimant is able to convince the authorities, then the introduction of a law in Egypt specifically targeting gays is likely to make the success of his claim a near certainty.

The homophobic element of the UK population won't be best pleased, although they'll presumably label them as potential terrorists.....armed with a quiche or two.

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

Post by newcastle »

Egypt Independent has got hold of the 5 draft articles of the proposed new law :


The first article defines homosexuality as any person engaging in sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex.

The second article clarified that any person engaging in homosexuality in a public or private place should be subjected to punitive action that should be no less than one-year and not exceeding three years in jail.

It added that in case those jailed homosexual people repeated having sex after being freed, then the punitive action should be five years in jail.

The third article highlighted that any “supporter” of homosexuality or someone who calls for the acceptance of homosexuality, even if he or she is not a “practitioner of homosexuality,” should be jailed for no less than one year or no more than three years.

The fourth article paid attention to media coverage to parties organized by homosexual people, stipulating that any representatives of the media that “promotes” LGBT parties would be jailed for three years.

Moreover, the article also noted that organizers or participants of such parties would be jailed for the same period.

“It is prohibited to show any sign or symbol of homosexuality or to promote it, all violators will be jailed for no less than one year and no more than three years,” the fifth article read.

http://www.egyptindependent.com/mp-draf ... ers-egypt/

Interesting that ET refer to the law as "homophobic"

Whether it affects lesbians will depend upon the definition of "sexual intercourse". That could lead to some interesting drafting of the clauses.

At least it seems to confine the offences to action rather than thought. Except anyone suspected of being gay, maybe anyone slightly "camp", risks being subjected to anal examination. The scope for settling private grudges with a word dropped in the right ear is obvious.

Moreover. anyone straight or gay, supporting homosexuality, or calling for its acceptance, is liable to between 1 and 3 years in jail.

Altogether, pretty draconian proposed legislation.

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Re: Final Blow in Egypt's anti-LGBT Crackdown Is on the Hori

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