QUEER VOICES
12/16/2014 09:36 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Arab Organizations Denounce Persecution Of Gays And Complicity Of Egyptian Media

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Several well-known organizations in the Arab world released a joint statement on Monday denouncing the recent mass arrests of alleged gay people in Cairo, as well as the complicity of the Egyptian media in the persecution of gays.

On December 7, Mona Iraqi, a reporter for the private television channel Al Kahera Wal Nas, reportedly worked with the police to plan and film the mass arrests, a broad demonstration of force by the Egyptian regime.

Security forces invaded a Turkish bath in order to capture a group of approximately 26 men who had been accused of debauchery and immoral acts.

In response, citizens around the Arab world have mobilized to denounce the Egyptian government’s methods, calling it the largest mass arrest for “debauchery” since the notorious 2001 raid on the floating gay nightclub Queen Boat, which saw over 50 arrests.

In statement, several human rights groups including the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, the Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality, the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in the Muslim World and the Lebanese LGBT rights group Helem, expressed their outrage over Mona Iraqi’s actions:

"The signatories of this statement strongly condemn what the TV presenter did. She has dishonored the profession of journalism. We affirm that it is she who has violated the law and not the men who were arrested (...) We demand that Mona Iraqi be held legally responsible for abusing her profession to violate these men’s privacy, commit libel and pursue her career without considering the consequences of her actions.”

In recent months, the Al-Sissi regime has carried out several successive attacks on the gay community in Egypt.

Condemning the crackdown, the signatories of the statement reaffirmed their solidarity with the LGBT individuals in Egypt who have suffered more than 150 arrests since June 2013 on the basis of false allegations. They also deplored the regime’s discriminatory discourse on the subject of gays, which frequently relies on stereotypes conflating homosexuality with the AIDS virus.

This piece originally appeared on HuffPost Maghreb and was translated into English.

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