Gay Life?and Death?in the Arab World

Persecution of homosexuals increases in the Middle East.

| Web Specials Archives


Gays and lesbians living in the Arab world are struggling against an alarming wave of government persecution, according to human rights groups. But a growing network of progressive-minded Muslims is beginning to fight back.

As Penny Dale of One World Africa reports, eight Egyptian men were arrested for the 'practice of debauchery' on January 19, and gay rights groups fear the men may be tortured while in jail.

It?s a 'steadily growing pattern of persecution,' claims the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), a U.S.-based group that has decried the persecution of gays and people with HIV and AIDS worldwide.

Last year in Cairo, for example, 23 of 52 men convicted of 'obscene behavior' were sentenced to five years of hard labor. Then, in December, two Egyptian university students who had responded to an undercover agent?s request for gay contacts in an Internet chat room were sentenced under the same law.

And Saudi Arabia punishes convicted homosexuals with the death penalty? most recently on January 1, when three Saudi Arabian men were executed. The trial proceedings remain secret, according to the IGLHRC, and Amnesty International claims the executions may be part of the government?s 'determination to continue its appalling yearly rate of executions.'



'The pattern is the same,' says IGLHRC Program Director Scott Long. 'People suspected of homosexuality are picked up and accused of prostitution. Police use informers and the Internet to entrap victims.'

Homosexuality is not explicitly prohibited under Egyptian law, but statutes are based on Sharia, or Islamic law?which condemn it as an immoral act. According to the Al-Fatiha Foundation, an international group for gay Muslims, homosexuality is seen as sinful and perverted in most Islamic countries based on verses in the Qu?ran.



Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter