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Egypt Targets Gays in Effort to Out-Moralize Islamists

Arrests and abuse of gays have become commonplace in Egypt. Similar crackdowns are happening in Kuwait and Morocco (and likely plenty of other places) as well:

Cairo"For three months, the Egyptian police have embarked on periodic sweeps of streets in central Cairo to clear them of presumed homosexuals. The raids, independent observers and human rights activists say, reflect not simply official disgust. They're part of an effort by governments throughout the Middle East to out-moralize Islamic parties that have denounced the perceived depravity of Arab societies under autocratic rule. Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, though it is a convenient target, said Hani Shukrallah, executive director of the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism in Cairo. 'Meaningless crackdowns have become a regular thing,' Shukrullah said. 'If not gays, devil worshippers. If not devil worshippers, apostates. The government needs to outbid Islamic opponents as guardian of morals.'"

Those who follow this site will remember the post about Egyptians being arrested for being HIV-positive and the tortured they endured. You see, torture and abuse are considered of higher morality than love for another person if that person happens to be of the same gender.

Gays in Egypt besieged by wave of suppression [iht]

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  1. Oh good! So once again, we're a fucking soccer ball for religious fundies to kick around the world.

    At what point can the number of OUT people actually make a difference where we can say "Enough of this shit already! Get over it!"

    Posted by: Rad | Apr 8, 2008 3:45:23 PM

  2. I met a gay Moroccan/Black American student recently. Incredibly beautiful, but 30 years younger than me. One thing we discussed was how he felt his family must be told nothing of his gay identity or sexuality. This was an American kid living here in Philly, mind you. I told him that he's got to get out of his family's home, then he can decide whether/when to be "out" with them or not. Did I tell him right? I mean, should be older gays advise young gays to "come out" even when they're living in an anti-gay home environment? If they get thrown out, we can't take them in. Although, as beautiful as Egyptian & Moroccan men are--I wish I could.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Apr 8, 2008 4:07:03 PM

  3. I would advocate that someone in precarious circumstances first address matters of stability and independence before making a move that could cost him dearly.

    I hate the proverbial closet as much as the next guy, but I think that moving to a place of safety and security is an important early step in the coming out process.

    Posted by: Jeff | Apr 8, 2008 4:16:34 PM

  4. Yeah, JEFF's right. Coming out requires a certain level of independence otherwise you risk being disowned(or worse) like my father did. And he's an atheist. So for religious families like your friend's, I can only imagine the burden.

    Posted by: Shabaka | Apr 8, 2008 4:46:17 PM

  5. Is there any country on this earth that does not have these religious nuts with only one thing to stay in power, gay bashing, around? Instead of their "holy' books, they need to stop obsessing over homosexuality and fix the many issues that plague these countries. And, Egypt, yet another so called 'democracy' that the USA supports, when its a dictatorship of the worst kind.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Apr 8, 2008 4:46:44 PM

  6. One less place to visit.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Apr 8, 2008 5:26:04 PM

  7. I think the number of "out" people in Egypt and the Middle East is neglible outside of Israel.

    Posted by: marcos | Apr 8, 2008 5:47:17 PM

  8. Ok, so what can we do? How does one start a boycott against a country? Against the travel industry? I'm never going to Egypt but I know of lots of archaeologists that are there spending American money on digs and research. Condoleeza Rice doesn't care. I've emailed her several times on this with no reply. If they were jailing and beating other Africans there'd be an international uprising.

    Posted by: James Poppinga | Apr 8, 2008 6:09:53 PM

  9. I just got back from Egypt. There are tons of Americans and Westerners there. The country is strangely westernized in many respects, but it is still a mostly Islamic nation. Police with machine guns are everywhere, mostly to make tourists feel safe. The men are beautiful and are quite eager to make money from tourists, to the point of being almost rudely aggressively. One thing you have to get used to is the eye contact that men give you. It's not necessarily intended to be erotic, but for westerners it may feel that way. Also, Egyptian men tend to walk arm in arm with each other and tend to hang in all-male packs.

    Posted by: javier | Apr 8, 2008 6:44:53 PM

  10. My favorite African destination is Cape Town.

    I have very little interest in Arab Egypt (7th century onward). And thanks to our evil European ancestors -- the British Museum, Louvre, Met, and Vatican Museum have enough Ancient Egyptian loot to last several lifetimes.

    Posted by: John | Apr 9, 2008 1:50:54 AM

  11. egypt was our #1 go-to place for extraordinary rendition. they could have made mother theresa confess to harlotry. why should we expect more or less of them as it pertains to human rights? many of these oprresive countries get away with there shit because america turns a blind eye. i am hopeful that come january, 2009, we will choose our friends more wisely.

    Posted by: nic | Apr 9, 2008 8:19:32 AM

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