Al-Fatiha Calls for a Second Day of Action Against Egypt
November 3, 2001
Contact: Faisal Alam
Founder & Director
US Tel. 202-223-3738
Al-Fatiha, an international organization dedicated to lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (LGBTQ) Muslims & their friends
called for a second day of action against Egypt today—whose government
continues to hold 52 men in detention because of their alleged sexual
The men who have been charged with "immoral behavior" and
"contempt for religion" have been in prison for almost six months
and have reportedly been tortured while in detention. One of the people
arrested was a teenager who was tried separately and has already been
convicted and sentenced to three years in prison with a three year probation
after he is released. The teenager reportedly confessed to having sex with
another male after an interrogation but later recanted his testimony. An
anonymous contact in Egypt has notified Al-Fatiha recently that the government
of Egypt has continued its campaign to crackdown on the increasingly visible
gay community. There have been unconfirmed reports of mass arrests in other
major cities in Egypt.
On November 13, the day before the verdict is to be announced in the case
of the Cairo 52, Al-Fatiha is calling for a day of action against the
government of Egypt. The action includes:
- Flooding the Egyptian government with phone calls, faxes, and emails
protesting the detention of the men and demanding their immediate and
- Voicing concern that Egypt is acting in violation of several
international human rights treaties to which it is a party.
- Holding a candlelight vigil outside Egyptian embassies or consulates in
remembrance of the 52 men detained and the teenager already imprisoned.
"We have not forgotten the Cairo 52 in the wake of the September 11
tragedy," said Faisal Alam, founder and director of Al-Fatiha. "The
voices of freedom and justice must be stronger today than ever before."
Members of Al-Fatiha’s chapter in Washington DC in collaboration with
OUTfront DC—the local action group of the LGBT Program of Amnesty
International are planning a day of action on November 13 in Washington DC,
USA which will include a teach-in and candlelight vigil procession to the
Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau.
The Washington DC teach-in and candlelight vigil has been endorsed by
Amnesty International USA. Amnesty International, an international human
rights organization has been working extensively on the Egypt case. In
addition to meeting with officials of the Egyptian government, Amnesty
International has mobilized thousands of individuals to advocate for the
release of the 52 men. In addition to writing letters to the Egyptian
government members of Amnesty International are sending cards of hope and
solidarity to the imprisoned men.
In the next week each of the 52 men will receive 500 cards of hope and
solidarity from Amnesty members. Tora Prison (where the men are being
detained) will be flooded with at minimum 26,000 cards from Amnesty members.
In acknowledging the tremendous support Al-Fatiha has received from Amnesty
International and the OUTfront program, Alam said, "Amnesty International
continues to shine brightly with the its candle light of hope."
The last day of the trial of the 52 men where the verdict will be announced
is November 14, 2001—the day after the action.
Although the action on November 13 is focused on the Egyptian government,
Al-Fatiha noted that the international human rights community will be closely
watching the actions of governments around the world. Human rights
organizations have already expressed fear that governments including Egypt
will use the new "war on terrorism" as an excuse to discriminate
against, detain, arrest, and even torture those that are deemed to be "a
threat to the state," including members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgendered community.
The action on November 13 against the government of Egypt is the second
such event coordinated by Al-Fatiha. A similar action was held on August 15,
2001 (the first day of the trial of the 52 men). That day Al-Fatiha organized
protests in front of Egyptian embassies and consulates in cities around the
world. Members of the international community also flooded the Egyptian
government with phone calls, emails, and faxes to protest the detention of the
men. More than fifty organizations in over fifteen countries endorsed the
first call to action on August 15.
Background information on the Egypt case and sample letters to send to the
Egyptian government can be found at:
IGLHRC - http://www.iglhrc.org
Amnesty International OUTfront Program - http://www.aiusa.org/outfront
Al-Fatiha Foundation - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/al-fatiha-news
Al-Fatiha is an international organization dedicated to Muslims who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, those questioning their sexual
orientation or gender identity and their friends. Al-Fatiha, which means
"The Opening" or "The Beginning," started in 1998 and has
since grown to include nine chapters in three countries (United States,
Canada, and the United Kingdom).
To become an Al-Fatiha member go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/al-fatiha-news/files
and click on "Membership Form"
Al-Fatiha Foundation P:O Box 33532 Washington, DC 20033
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