Egypt Expands Crackdown on Gay and Transgender People

By Nour Youssef and Liam Stack

CAIRO — At least 34 people have been arrested in Egypt as part of an expanding crackdown on the gay and transgender community following a rock concert last month when audience members waved a rainbow flag.

The crackdown has been fueled by social media, where images of the flag-waving were widely shared, and by dating apps and other websites, which the Egyptian police have used to entrap people suspected of being gay and transgender, activists and officials say.

Photographs and video of Ahmed Alaa, a 22-year-old law student, and others waving the flag at the concert by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly gay singer, stoked public outrage and vituperative news coverage that described the flag-waving as an assault on Egypt and its morals.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – Egypt Expands Crackdown on Gay and Transgender People

    It seems that transgender people are not the only ones fearful of abuse in Egypt!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41637383

    The Egyptian capital Cairo has been described as the “most dangerous” megacity for women.

    The finding comes from the first international poll on how women fare in cities with over 10 million people.

    The survey was conducted in 19 megacities where experts on women’s issues were asked about how well women were protected from sexual violence.

    The poll ranked London as the megacity most friendly to women, followed by Tokyo and Paris.

  2. It seems that the present extremes of Islam, are being recognised by the more educated national leaders!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41747476

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said the return of “moderate Islam” is key to his plans to modernise the Gulf kingdom.

    He told reporters that 70% of the Saudi population was under 30 and that they wanted a “life in which our religion translates to tolerance”.

    The prince vowed to “eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon”.

    He made the comments after announcing the investment of $500bn (£381bn) in a new city and business zone.

    Dubbed NEOM, it will be situated on 26,500 sq km (10,230 sq miles) of Saudi Arabia’s north-western Red Sea coast, near Egypt and Jordan.

    Saudi Arabia’s royal family and religious establishment adhere to an austere form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, and the king styles himself as the guardian of Islam’s two holiest sites.

    Islamic codes of behaviour and dress are strictly enforced in the kingdom.

    Last year, Prince Mohammed unveiled a wide-ranging plan to bring social and economic change to the oil-dependent kingdom known as Vision 2030.

    As part of those reforms, the 32-year-old has proposed the partial privatisation of the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, and the creation of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

    And in September his father, King Salman, announced that a ban on women drivers would end next year, despite long-standing opposition from religious conservatives.

    The government also wants to invest in the entertainment sector. Concerts are once again being held and cinemas are expected to return soon.

    Prince Mohammed defended the reforms at an economic conference in Riyadh on Tuesday that drew foreign investors and dignitaries.

    “We are returning to what we were before – a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions, traditions and people around the globe,” he said.

    “We want to live a normal life. A life in which our religion translates to tolerance, to our traditions of kindness,” he added.

    This sounds like a move in the right direction – but from a very low base!

    We will have to wait to see what this new “Wahhabi Islamic tolerance” looks like on the ground, or if the old die-hards organise some coup or assassination attempt!

  3. I see that Wahhabi Islam in Saudi Arabia is becoming (a tiny bit) “more moderate”! 🙂

    Still!! They have OIL – so that makes “GREAT DEALS” selling them modern weapons to spread their culture into surrounding countries, OK! 🙂

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41798481

    Saudi Arabia will allow women to attend sports events in stadiums for the first time from next year, officials say.

    Families will be able to enter the stadiums in three major cities – Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

    It is another move towards giving more freedom to Saudi women, who face strict gender segregation rules, and follows the historic lifting of a driving ban.

    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading a major drive to modernise Saudi society and boost the economy.

    Saudi Arabia’s sports authority said that preparations would start in the three stadiums so they can be “ready to accommodate families from early 2018″.

    Restaurants, cafes and monitor screens would be set up inside the stadiums as part of the changes, it added.
    Up until now, the venues have been men-only areas.

    Clearly strict monitoring of these activities by the religious police, will be needed to enforce dress codes, ensure no women are dating unrelated men, and to prevent women running amok in restaurants! 🙂

    The reforms are in line with a wide-ranging plan announced by 32-year-old Prince Mohammed to bring social and economic change to the oil-dependent kingdom, known as Vision 2030.

    Last month, a royal decree said that women would be allowed to drive for the first time from next June. Concerts are once again being held and cinemas are expected to return soon.

    But analysts warn that the plan is not without risks.

    The kingdom faced a backlash from conservatives on social media after allowing women to participate in National Day celebrations in Riyadh’s King Fahd Stadium for the first time last month.

    Despite the recent announcements, women still face severe restrictions in the country, which enforces a strict form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism.

    Women have to adhere to strict dress codes and must not associate with unrelated men. If they want to travel, work or access healthcare they must be accompanied by – or receive written permission from – a male guardian.

  4. It does seem however that the Egyptian regime, has problems with any sexual activity – homosexual or heterosexual!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41849838

    An Egyptian TV presenter has been sentenced to three years in jail after she discussed ways of becoming pregnant outside a conventional marriage.

    Doaa Salah, a presenter on Al-Nahar TV, asked if her viewers had considered having sex before marriage, and also suggested a woman could marry briefly to have children before divorcing.

    She was charged and convicted with outraging public decency.

    Ms Salah was also ordered to pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£430) in compensation.

    The authorities said the ideas in the programme “threatened the fabric of Egyptian life”, the EFE news agency reports.

    Sex before marriage is widely regarded as unacceptable in socially conservative Egypt.

    Ms Salah suggested that a potential husband could be paid for taking part in a short-lived marriage, and also spoke about how sperm donation is an accepted method in Western countries – but not in Egypt.

    She was suspended from her presenting job for three months in the aftermath of the broadcast, before legal action was taken against her.

  5. I see that as usual, “politically correct” busy-bodies, when put in positions of authority, are still finding pretexts for demanding (and often getting), apologies!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-41995932

    Egypt’s musicians’ union has banned a leading singer from performing in the country for “mocking” the River Nile.

    It came after video emerged showing Sherine Abdel Wahab being asked at a concert to sing Mashrebtesh Men Nilha (Have You Ever Drunk From The Nile).

    She responded by saying “drinking from the Nile will get me schistosomiasis” – a disease caused by parasitic worms that is commonly known as bilharzia.

    Abdel Wahab then advised the fan to “drink Evian water” instead.

    OOOooooh” Those unsentimental “offensive facts”!

    On Tuesday, the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate announced that it had reviewed the video and decided to suspend the 37 year old over her apparent “unjustified mockery of our dear Egypt”.

    The union said it had opened an investigation and would not grant Abdel Wahab the necessary permits to perform until she had been questioned.

    Abdel Wahab later issued a statement apologising for her “foolish joke” at the concert, which she said took place in the Gulf emirate of Sharjah more than a year ago.

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