March 6, 2002 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 88

Egyptian Press: 'Since Egyptian Gays Have No Rights, Their Rights Need No Defense'

March 6, 2002
Egypt | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 88

In 2001, Egyptian authorities carried out wide-scale arrests of members of "homosexual organizations"; the arrested were tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison. Another wave of arrests took place in January 2002. Recently, French composer and multimedia artist Jean Michel Jarre, who produced the opera celebration of the millennium at the Great Pyramids, spearheaded a protest action against the arrests. The protest was joined by many French celebrities. Jarre also declared his intentions to discuss gay rights with Egyptian leaders.

A few days later, Egyptian film producer Yusef Shaheen told AFP that he supported Jarre's activities and explained that whenever the Egyptian authorities find themselves in political or economic trouble, they contrive a moral scandal to cover their failures. Since then, Jarre, Shaheen, and homosexuality itself have been the object of harsh criticism by the Egyptian press.

The Perverts Must Be Investigated

Muhammad Abd Al-Mun'im Murad, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Akhbar, wrote, "I do not know why this perversion [homosexuality] has spread so conspicuously, either here in Egypt or globally... What is regrettable is that this distressing phenomenon is accompanied by campaigns. . . defending the perverts' right to do as they wish with their bodies…"

"A man must remain a man, and a woman must remain a woman. Each gender is entitled by Islamic religious law to protect the [nature] of the sex Allah made him or her. . ."

"Similarly, Egyptians see procuring between an active and a passive pervert or procuring between a man and a woman for the purpose of sexual perversion and for depravity as one of the most loathsome acts of which anyone can be accused. People who have in the past found themselves imprisoned [in Egypt] were stunned by the depravity committed by the perverts, both secretly and openly. Those accused of sex crimes and vice are the lowest of the low [in prison], and they are treated worse than murderers, thieves, swindlers, counterfeiters, or burglars. Crimes of sexual perversion are the worst a man can commit in the eyes of conservative Egyptians. . . A man must remain a man. Moreover, the quality of manliness is connected in peoples' consciousness with honor, morality, and loyalty... The causes of the spread of this perversion in our country must be investigated."[1]

The West's Defense of These Perverts Causes Nausea and Repulsion In Egyptians
Al-Akhbar columnist Suniya 'Abbas addressed Jarre directly: "Who are you to protest [the treatment of homosexuals in Egypt]? Who told you that perverts have rights in Egypt, that you should defend them?! Who told you we would accept your protest, or the protest of the entire world, and defend the perverts?! Who told you this protest would be echoed by any [Egyptian] official?!… Egypt permitted you to produce the millennium show, but it will not allow you to meddle with its legal rulings. Oh Mr. Jean, oh 'Frenchman': This is an Egyptian legal ruling, and it was handed down only after the evidence proved their guilt. This guilt arises from the monotheistic religion, and any reasonable, mentally balanced man who respects his religion and protects morality condemns this act. In short, your protest is religiously and morally unacceptable – even if you are a famous producer, as the papers claim!! Your fame will not increase, and you will earn no respect from the public because you defend the perverts. On the contrary – even if the West recognizes this deed [homosexuality] and grants rights to [its perpetrators], the countries of the East are revolted and shamed by it."[2]

Al-Akhbar columnist Wagih Abu Zikra wrote: "With nausea and repulsion, I have followed the news of the perverts arrested in the Al-Bouhayra district, and how the pathological report determined their guilt… What moral debasement has this group reached? What kind of people are they, with no religion, moral values, or honor? And yet there are people in the West who defend them – even hold a march in Paris in their honor, claiming human rights. What human? What rights?! I don't care what they say in the West… Where are human rights in all things regarding what is going on in Palestine?! Why aren't there demonstrations for the rights of the Palestinian child?!… Where are human rights in the Guantanamo detention camps?!…"[3]

Yusef Shaheen was the target of severe censure. Hisham Mubarak wrote in Al-Akhbar, "...I do not understand why Shaheen left his post behind the camera to become a political and economic commentator – as if we had any lack of commentators. [I do not understand why he] declared to the French news agency, after shedding traditional Egyptian dress and donning 'French' dress, that every time an economic problem crops up, they – meaning the Egyptians – try to hide it with a scandal that will inflame the people. . ."

"Excuse me, Brother Joe [i.e. 'Joseph' Shaheen]… If the government wanted to fabricate a scandal to conceal its economic failure, it would have looked for well-known individuals… instead of encountering new faces in the world of perversion, of whom we have never heard…"[4]

In the A'akhir Sa'a weekly, Hassan 'Allam also attacked Shaheen: "…Oh, the shame! When a man reaches old age, he usually turns to Allah [to ask forgiveness] for his sins… But Yusef Shaheen, aged 75, went to Paris so that the perverts 'would make use of him!"

"If you have no shame, Yusef Shaheen, do whatever you like. All monotheistic religions prohibit the perversion of homosexuality… but Yusef Shaheen has his own school of religious thought, and a religion different from the monotheistic religions. So he defends perverts, homosexuals, and lesbians."

"If Yusef Shaheen is a Christian, then I remind him that… both the Old and New Testaments include about 10 perfectly clear passages on this matter, most of which discuss penalties deterring the sin of the perversion."

"Perhaps the homosexuals find limited support in liberal Europe and therefore their voices rise… But in Egypt the situation is completely different, just as in the other Eastern cultures. We despise them, and they arouse our loathing and nausea."[5]

Shaheen did not receive support even from the Egyptian Human Rights Oraganization, which kept its distance from the cause of the imprisoned homosexuals. Hafez Abu Sa'deh, the organization's director, explained, "Egypt's human rights organizations cannot defend the perverts because we adhere to the values and traditions customary in Egypt. Furthermore, the laws are largely drawn from Islamic religious law. Thousands of people need the protection of the Egyptian human rights organizations, primarily in matters of violations of liberty… and it is fitting that we take it upon ourselves to handle these cases rather than defend those accused of perversion. If we support the perverts, the Egyptians will boycott, and be repulsed by, the human rights organizations."[6]

Leading Egyptian Government Officials and Scientists: 'Perverts, [namely homosexuals] Must Be Thrown Off Mountaintops, Killed, or Burned'

The Egyptian papers quoted numerous clerics and "scientists" who attempted to explain homosexuality. Sheikh Muhammad Abd Al-Magid Zaydan, of the Egyptian Ministry for Religious Endowment, discussed forms of punishment for homosexuality: "Despite Western criticism, imprisonment is not a severe enough punishment to deter these perverts. Islamic law states that they should be thrown from a high place. The clerics agreed that anyone who commits this abomination must be thrown off a mountaintop. Others maintain that the wall of a house should be knocked down on him."[7]

Dr. Abd Al-Hadi Misbah, a lecturer at Al-Azhar University's faculty of medicine, took a "scientific" approach. "It is known that sexual perversion damages the anus, because Allah made the anus delicate in order to allow the passing of the things that exit from it. But during the perverted act, transfer of the microbes in the blood that comes out of the anus occurs. We, as men of medicine and religion, must base our defense of religion on science, because the West tries to destroy religion and justify such acts [homosexuality] with science. We must confront the research of the West with our own scientific studies that refute their false claims…"[8]

Dr. Sayyid Subhi, lecturer in psychiatry at Al-Azhar, added: "It is difficult to believe that the perverted behavior found someone to defend it… It is natural for a male to desire a female. Allah cursed the men who make themselves into women, and the women who make themselves into men, because the honor of [man], whom Allah created, is violated when a pervert attempts to carry out the idiocy of his perversion. Such a man makes himself into a female. Furthermore, a man of honor is one who fulfils the role of husband and father. If these perverts proliferate, the honor of the entire society will be violated, and the life [of the homosexual] will become valueless… These perverts are characterized by aggressiveness and destructiveness. We must pay attention to this risk. There are attempts by the media and the Internet to conduct missionary activity to promote these perverted acts. Efforts must be increased to caution our children against this accursed disease and to raise them on religious and moral values…"[9]

Dr. 'Ali Al-Sibki, lecturer on Islamic culture at Cairo University, presented the various approaches to executing homosexuals. "The wisdom of prohibiting homosexuality stems from the fact that the continuation of human propagation depends on the relationship between man and woman… For this reason, deviation from this behavior constitutes heresy, which requires the penalty set out by Islamic religious law… There is a [scholarly religious] dispute regarding how they should be killed: One opinion is that the penalty for fornication should be applied to homosexuals, as [the act involves] penetration of a bodily orifice prohibited by religious law… Another opinion is that the perpetrator of the deed, and the one to whom it is done, should be killed. A third opinion is that the homosexual should be burned… A fourth opinion is that he should be thrown from the highest wall, due to the loathsome nature of the deed."[10]

[1] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), February 7, 2002.

[2] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), February 7, 2002.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), February 17, 2002.

[4] Al-Akhbar (Egypt), February 14, 2002.

[5] A'akhir Sa'a (Egypt), February 20, 2002.

[6] Al-Haqiqa (Egypt), February 16, 2002.

[7] Al-Haqiqa (Egypt), February 16, 2002.

[8] Al-Usb'u (Egypt), February 18, 2002.

[9] Al-Usb'u (Egypt), February 18, 2002.

[10] Al-Usb'u (Egypt), February 18, 2002.

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