Egypt detains 14 for “homosexual acts” at medical centre

Egyptian security flank 52 suspected homosexual men accused of sexual immorality as they arrive at a Cairo court November 14, 2001. Reuters
An Egyptian prosecutor ordered on Saturday that fourteen suspects be detained for four days pending investigations into allegations that they committed “homosexual acts” inside a medical centre in the neighborhood of al-Marg in Cairo. 
The prosecutor also ordered that they be sent to a pathologist for forensic reports and that the centre be shut down, the Arabic Ahram online portal said. 
Egyptian authorities raided the centre after it was confirmed that the "immoral acts" were taking place between males aged between 18 to 57 years old. 
The prosecutor also ordered that all evidence be confiscated as investigations take place. 
In 2001, 52 Egyptian men also stood trial on charges of "sexual immorality". 
This content is from :Aswat Masriya

Kuwait to Conduct Gay Tests to 'Detect and Ban' Homosexuals from Entering Gulf Kingdom

Gay pride parade
A gay pride parade (Reuters)
Kuwait will conduct medical screening tests to "detect" homosexuals who attempt to get into the Gulf kingdom, according to a senior official.
Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, said that the routine clinical screening of expatriates coming into the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) will include tests to identify LGBT people who will then be banned from entering the country.
"Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries," he told local daily Al Rai. "However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states."
Homosexuals acts are banned in all the GCC member countries, which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In Kuwait, people involved in a homosexual acts can receive up to 10 years in jail if they are under 21. In 2010 the conservative Gulf country banned the screening of Egyptian film Beddon Rakaba (Out of Control or Uncensored) saying that it "encouraged debauchery". The film focused on youth people using drugs and having homosexual relationships.
A member of the censorship board said that some of the scenes were "too hot" and that the lesbianism theme was "too bold."
In 2012, Kuwaiti police officers arrested two men for allegedly having homosexual acts in a car at a café's parking lot in Kuwait city. Police also found the men had a four-year-old "marriage contract" and were planning to travel abroad to obtain a legal marriage certificate.
According to many Arab LGBT organisations, it is common practice among Arabian Gulf gay couples to sign a marriage contact as a sign of love and commitment.
Bahrain arrested 127 people in 2011 for holding a "depraved and decadent party", according to Gulf News.

Lebanon censors French film over homosexuality

W460BEIRUT: Lebanon has censored a French film depicting homosexuality and a local short film about the tradition of temporary marriage among some Shiite Muslims, film festival organisers said Thursday.

The Beirut International Film Festival said it had been informed by censors that 'L'inconnu du lac' (Stranger by the Lake), a thriller by Alain Guiraudie about two men who fall in love after meeting at a cruising spot for gay men along the shore of a lake.

The other film is "I Offered You Pleasure," by 26-year-old Lebanese director Farah Shaer. It deals with the controversial subject of temporary marriage, or "pleasure marriage," a tradition among some Shiites that opponents view as an excuse for sex outside of conventional wedlock, otherwise forbidden by Islam.

A security official said the censorship board, which is attached to the interior ministry, had concluded the two films did "not meet its criteria" and that the minister would make a final decision on them.

Despite unbridled access to media via the Internet and the widespread pirating of DVDs, censors in multi-sectarian Lebanon ban all artistic works they believe incite sectarian strife, undermine morals or state authority, or which further "Israeli propaganda."

Lebanon also respects a region-wide boycott of the Israeli arts enforced by the Arab League.
Earlier this year,Beirut censored Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri's award-winning film "The Attack" because it was partly shot in Tel Aviv with Israeli actors.



The Daily Star

REYKJAVÍK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2013: Q&A Abdellah Taïa

Author and director Abdellah Taïa shows his new film Salvation Army at this year’s RIFF in the New Visions program. The film deals with the troubling and constantly changing live of the young Abdellah. He lives in Casablanca and spends his days at home, living a relationship of conflicts and complicity with his father. From time to time he has casual sex with men in the city streets. Ten years later, Abdellah lives with his Swiss lover, Jean. He leaves Morocco and goes to Geneva but decides to break up with Jean and start a new life alone.

abdellah_taia_wiki 
Photo: Wikipedia.

Born in Salé, Morocco, thirty-nine years old, Salvation Army’s director Abdellah Taïa is the first Moroccan and Arab writer to have openly come out about his homosexuality.

How did you decide to start working on your first full-length feature film Salvation Army (L’armee du salut)?
A French producer, Claude Kunetz, read my novel Salvation Army (translated into English in 2009 by Semiotexte) and he contacted me. He knew about my big obsession with cinema and he wanted me to make a film about the story of the book. I first said no. I had no desire to work on something already published, kind of finished. But the idea didn’t disappear from my mind. One day, I realized that I could almost totally forget about the book and make a film with a new vision, with new images and distance, to recreate my world. The film tells the same story as the book but in another way, with a new perspective. I don’t think it’s good to stay faithful to a book when you are making a film.

What main message is the film supposed to deliver? Would you like it to convey a special feeling to people, while they are watching it?
It’s a story of a solitude. Fragments of a solitude. The hero is Moroccan, gay, Muslim. But his story could reach anyone. Gay or straight. I tried to be honest with how individuals are treated in my country Morocco. No real freedom. No possibilities of really being adults. The film is about a gay hero who is so very attached to his country but, at the same time, he has no other choice but being himself. A clever person, maybe not really a nice one. The film deals with obscure feelings, with opacity in the Moroccan reality.

Have you ever been to Iceland? What are your expectations about Iceland and RIFF?
I have a friend in Paris who is obsessed with Iceland. I am very happy to visit RIFF and Iceland and to find out why my friend is touched by this land. 

For more information about riff.is. 


Marieke Beuße/RIFF

The first gay in Arab cine-world: a homosexual star in a Moroccan movie


Abdellah Taia’s's It is the Arab Spring of cinema as in the summer of 2013 the Middle East welcomes its apparently first gay protagonist to the film scene through director Abdellah Taia’s movie "Salvation Army."
AP reports that the Moroccan film writer-director Taia has been out of the closet since 2006. He is no stranger to making a scene - already the first Moroccan to declare his homosexuality in the public arena in 2006—in a country where gays can face prison -  he made quite the splash the year after when his face was the cover of a newsmagazine that ran with "Homosexual, Against All Odds."
'I am totally aware of how this subject is taboo in the Arab world," Taia said speaking from Venice, where his film was showcased at the festival. AP reports that the film was set in Morocco, but not without resistance. 
"I do go to Morocco and they do allow me to enter," Taia said. "If they do something to me, it is a risk for them, too."
In spite of any Muslim or Arab backlash risked, he has braved the spheres of cinema and literature to talk about it. Taia has published novels – including “Salvation Army” from which the feisty film is adapted.
Being accepted with accolades by the literary and cinematic community has spurred him to act the spokesman for the gay lesbian societal debate. 
Poor and Gay in Morocco
Says AP's interview piece - "Salvation Army" draws on Taia's own life growing up 'poor and gay' in Morocco. The protagonist, Abdellah, disovers his homosexuality from an early age and must come to terms with how to live his identity in a country where his sexual orientation is not accepted officially (though there is a gay scene). 
Taia believes in the Arab Spring's impact on societal progress, including for homosexuals. He points to the creation of an Arabic language website for gays in Morocco and the fact that a neutral word for homosexuals now exists in Arabic: mithly.
He hopes his film, with its first gay Arab star, will be another force for change.
"Maybe this film will help some gay and lesbian Arab people face reality and have some support," Taia said. "I think this is the right time as well to free homosexuals in the Arab world and not forget that they are Arabs as well."

Qatari royal heir outed by Aljazeera

in QATAR, 05/08/2005
 
The Crown Prince of Qatar should be stoned to death for being gay, according to Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim fundamentalist scholar who is based in Qatar.

These allegatons appear in the Middle East news magazine Aljazeera. Dr Qaradawi was defended by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, in a Guardian comment article only yesterday, Thursday 4 August.

Aljazeera quotes Dr Qaradawi as saying: "The scholars of Islam, such as Malik, Ash-Shafi`i, Ahmad and Ishaaq said that (the person guilty of this crime) should be stoned, whether he is married or unmarried."

According to Aljazeera, this is the verdict of Dr Qaradawi in response to allegations that Qatar's 25 year old Crown Prince Tameem Bin Hamad Al-Thani was spotted at the popular London gay night club, G.A.Y. The prince and his male partner, Michael Heard, were allegedly banned from G.A.Y. for a month following a fight.

"Dr Qaradawi appears to be encouraging the murder of a person in the UK, which is a serious criminal offence," says OutRage! "We are astonished that Mayor Livingstone is still supporting him."

Dr Qaradawi's support for the execution of the Crown Prince was reported by
Aljazeera.

The Aljazeera story states it was based on a report on the IslamOnline.net website.

Aljazeera has effectively outed the Crown Prince to a worldwide audience. It puts his freedom and life in danger.

Aljazeera reports that other scholars from Islamonline.net, have also endorsed the execution of the prince, citing the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad to justify the death penalty for the heir to the Qatari throne:

"Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lut, kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done."
(At-Tirmidhi: 1376)

Dr Qaradawi's comment to Aljazeera reiterated his "gays should executed" opinion delivered in the fatwa "Homosexuality and Lesbianism: Sexual Perversions" issued last year (17 May 2004), shortly before he was welcomed to London by Mayor Ken Livingstone.

See this article Homosexuality and Lesbianism: Sexual Perversions

Dr Qaradawi’s recommendation that the prince be stoned to death far exceeds the current penalty for homosexuality in Qatar, which is 5 to 10 years in prison.

"This is a clear example of how fundamentalist clerics like Dr Qaradawi incite the execution of lesbian and gay people," said Aaron Saeed, Muslim spokesperson for the LGBT human rights group OutRage!

"Dr Qaradawi's apparent endorsement of the death penalty endangers the freedom and life of the Crown Prince. The actions of Aljazeera in outing Prince Tameem put him at risk of arrest, imprisonment and so-called honour killing.

"We are appalled that Dr Qaradawi continues to be supported by fundamentalist organisations such as the Muslim Association of Britain, and by far left groups like the Socialist Workers Party and Respect.

"These people are betraying lesbian and gay Muslims. They are appeasing a fundamentalist cleric who believes that queers should be put to death.

"While we deplore Islamophobia and defend the Muslim communities, there can be no collusion with those who sanction the murder of lesbian, gay and bisexual people," said Mr Saeed.

NOTE: OutRage! has been unable to establish whether the Crown Prince was involved in a fight at G.A.Y. According to the club's management, they do not keep a record of ejected patron's identities. The police say they have no record of any charges. We cannot discount the posibility that the story was put out by the Prince's political enemies in a bid to discredit him and to destabilise the government of Qatar. It is suspicious that IslamOnline.net, which Dr Qaradawi
supervises, has been cited as the source of the story and that the story seems to have disappeared from that website. Whether or not the fight at G.A.Y. occurred, Dr Qaradawi's fatwas have endorsed the execution of gay people. He should be asked to clarify his views on the death penalty for homosexuality.

'It can only get worse': Gays despair of Iran's elections

LGBT Iranians comment on today's election but with real power held by a religious and military elite and no candidates interested in easing the persecution they face, they say it can only get worse, not better
Hassan Rouhani, seen as a relatively moderate candidate, votes earlier today for the Iranian presidential election.
As the controversial Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, heads out of office, Iranians are at the polls today (14 June) to vote for a new president.
But what will this election mean for LGBT Iranians? Are any of the candidates likely to improve the situation for gays and lesbians in Iran, who face systematic persecution? Is there an end in sight to Iran’s hard-line anti-LGBT policies?
Jafar Mohamadi, a 19-year-old gay Iranian, whose family fled Iran to Dubai, explained to Gay Star News that he sees no reason to vote: ‘No matter who we vote for, no matter what changes the candidates have proposed, my Iran will still continue to be run with the same, ancient mindset of the revolutionary religious authorities.
‘This is why I am not voting, and why I will never vote.
‘In my country, freedom and equality is the lowest priority for the regime.
‘God bless Iran, and God bless Iranian people including those who are LGBT, whose lives have been turned into terror and misery thanks to the monstrous regime.’
Many of the Iranians Gay Star News interviewed share his despair and say none of the candidates are likely to make any difference.
Javid, a 28-year-old Iranian gay man told GSN: ‘The election will not cause any changes to the situation of Iranian LGBT people...’
In a paraphrase of a recent video campaign for LGBT youth, he said: ‘It can only get worse but not better...’
All candidates are carefully selected candidates by the ultra conservative Guardian Council and are establishment traditionalists.
Furthermore, LGBT Iranians thought all candidates are resolutely against equality on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and will not wish or be able to (even of they wanted to) effect any change.
Most are skeptical about the election process, and fear a repeat of widespread electoral fraud, as was the case in the previous infamous 2009 presidential election.
Maryam, a lesbian who fled Iran to the United Kingdom objects to the whole notion of participating in a system that oppresses its citizens: ‘Election in Iran doesn't make sense and I'm not going to vote.
‘Candidates are the same, same beliefs, same personalities from the same system.
‘The problem is not one or two people the problem is the system, no matter who is going to be the president, at the end of the day we still will be hanged or killed.
‘No freedom equals means no existence.’
Liberal and reformist Iranians see candidate Hassan Rouhani, a traditionalist clergyman who was granted permission to run as a candidate, as the least conservative of all other competitors.
Rouhani, was Iran's former nuclear negotiator and a member of The Assembly of Experts, a body that is responsible for monitoring and supervising the Supreme Leader as well as choosing his successor.
The Supreme Leader, in any case, is an undemocratic position. Despite being the ultimate religious and political power in the country, he is not elected by citizens but rather chosen for life by the assembly. The job is currently held by Ayatollah Khamenei.
Rouhani has stood out from other candidates by calling for a direct dialogue with the USA and also pledged his support for gender equality, while remaining silent on LGBT issues.
Gorji Marzban, an LGBT rights advocate and founder of the Oriental Queer Organization Austria (ORQOA), explains many Iranians would vote for Rohani, as he is seen as the least conservative of all candidates.
He told GSN: ‘The presidential election is tailored to install a conservative president who would conform to the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.
‘Even the so-called reformist candidate, Rohani is a traditionalist and therefore not a hope for LGBT community in Iran.
‘However, the majority of young Iranians as well as a part of LGBT community decided to vote for Rohani as a reaction, to reflect their demands for dignity, freedom and human rights.’
Amir, an Iranian gay man who found refuge in Australia after escaping Iran diagrees: ‘I will not vote; not even for Rohani the so-called “reformist” candidate.
‘First of all, I do not see anyone amongst the candidate who could represent me, and none that I could trust to.
‘In addition, there is no guarantee the authorities would not meddle with the voting process.
‘Lastly, whoever enters the office would deny my rights as a human being, similarly to Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University, who said gays don’t exist in Iran.
‘Even if Rohani, wins the election and he wanted to improve things for LGBT people (both highly unlikely) he would be unable to do anything – not even abolishing the death penalty for gays.’
Arsham Parsi, an Iranian gay activist and founder of Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (IRQR), has little hope for immediate change.
According to Parsi, Iran’s president, in reality, has very little authority – real power remains with the clerical establishment and the Revolutionary Guard that practically run the country.
Parsi had to flee Iran because of his sexuality and then his family was persecuted because of his advocacy work, forcing them to seek asylum.
Parsi told Gay Star News: ‘The short answer is noting is going to change, because we know it does not matter who will be the president of Iran.
‘Presidents in Iran do not have enough power to control the country or govern it.
‘Everything is under Supreme Leader's control. For Iranian queers nothing will change as long as the Islamic regime is in power since accepting queer rights is against their fundamental beliefs.
‘However, Iranian queers as citizens regardless of their sexual orientations, are trying to change their situation and many of them are going to vote because they believe it is the only way to keep their hope and fight for their rights as Iranian citizens.
‘To conclude, there is just a hope for a better future among Iranians while they know that hope is far from them.’
Yavar Khosroshahi, a 32-year-old Iranian gay man living in Germany told Gay Star News, says he understands why many of his friends despairs but manages to keep the hope Parsi spoke of, alive.
‘When I was 16 years old and living in Teheran I voted for a government that promised freedom and openness but a few years later threw me in prison, because I took part in a university student’s movement.
‘I endured tortured during a whole month,’ he recounted to GSN.
‘This was the first and last time I voted. I was forced to flee Iran loosing my nationality, and now I live in Germany where I am granted political asylum.
‘The situation in Iran is a catastrophe, the boycott and embargo by the West contribute to make life terribly hard for the less privileged population, whilst the government makes it difficult for everyone but their “friends”.
‘It is a heartbreaking life for millions.
‘I can see why fellow Iranians believe they must go to vote for the lesser evil while others believe that no one should go to vote, because it simply legitimates the fraud.
‘I understand and do not dare question people’s right to believe; acting either for or against a fraudulent election, brings people together, takes people to the streets, connecting, reaching out, demonstrating, showing where the power lies in the end.
‘Only such a way, a better could Iran develop.
Commenting on the issue, veteran British gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell, said: ‘There is no prospect of any change in Iran’s hard-line anti-LGBT policies.
‘None of the candidates support an end to the criminalization of homosexuality or an end to flogging and the death penalty for same-sex acts.
‘Some candidates share the out-going president’s view that there are no LGBT people in Iran or, if there are LGBT Iranians, they are merely copying “western immorality”.
‘This is an implausible denial of the historical fact that homosexuality has existed in the country since the first ancient Persian civilization.
‘The persecution of LGBT Iranians is just one aspect of a wider, systematic tyranny that prevails in modern-day Iran. The whole of civil society is subjected to severe restrictions and repression, which has intensified in the run up to today’s presidential poll.
‘The election is not free and fair: all democratic, liberal, secularist, left-wing and women candidates are banned by the Guardian Council.
‘While Iran’s media is censored with no open political debate.’
Note: Jafar and Amir's names have been changed to protect them.