Last edited: January 04, 2005

Arab Newspapers Write About Arrests & Homosexuality

Al-Fatiha, February 9, 2002

This report was sent to Al-Fatiha by an anonymous Egyptian gay activist based in Cairo.

On Friday morning both Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar printed the news of a computer engineer’s being sentenced to 3 years in jail plus a further 3 on probation for no apparent reason other than being homosexual.

Al-Akhbar writes: “3 Years in Jail and Probation for the Perverted Computer Engineer”.

“The Agouza Misdemeanors Court ruled yesterday (Thursday, February 7) to punish a computer engineer charged with advertising his availability to practice perversion on the Internet with 3 years’ imprisonment, and that he be placed under police observation for a period equal in length to the prison term. The sentence was passed by Ahmad Hisham, the head of the court, in the presence of public prosecutor Ahmad Abdel-Aziz. The bailiff was Hassan Abd el-Al.

“The computer engineer Nagi Sayed Zaki (23 years old)—had been arrested by the Vice Squad while walking in Gam’et el-Dowal el-Arabia Street in an eye-catching manner in order to flirt with young men and attract their attention.. Investigations proved that he had set up a homepage on the Internet on which he advertised himself.”

The only difference between the two newspapers was that Al-Ahram printed the name differently—Zaki Sayed Zaki Abdel-Malaak—instead of Nagi Sayed Zaki. But the rest of the details are the same, so my guess is that this is a typo.

I’m fed up with the same comments made every time. People are arrested while walking down the street minding their own business, and charges are fabricated against them. I think that this business of the homepage wasn’t the result of any investigations. Probably when they found out he was a computer engineer they decided the most plausible charge to fabricate would be a Web page. Similarly, in the 52 case, they charged people with posting their pictures on the Internet, when many were illiterate and the first time they heard the word “Internet” was in the courtroom during the trial.

What I find disturbing is that they no longer even attempt to cloak their persecution of homosexuals in terms such as “debauchery” etc., but now simply say “Perverted Computer Engineer Sentenced”.

At the same time, Rose Al Youssef, Saturday 9 February, ran a cover story with a photo of the 52 entitled (sub-heading) “All Religions Forbid Sexual Perversion” followed by (main heading) “International Perverts Campaign Against Egypt!”

Inside, six articles over 4 pages are devoted to the issue. The first, by Mervat El-Hateem, attacks Jean-Michel Jarre’s collection of signatures, as well as those who supported him, such as Catherine Deneucve and actor Jean Renaud and writer Henry Levy and others, as well as the Mayor of Paris who issued a press release on the subject. The second article, by Nahed Ezzat, is about the statements issued by huiman rights groups on the subject. First on the list is Amnesty International. They write about a “homosexual group” based in Britain that warns off homosexuals and others who want to vacation in Egypt after the 52 case, and that the British Foreign Ministry expressed concern about these arrests. It also mentions that Germany and Holland have issued laws granting gay marriages the same benefits as heterosexual ones. They go on to say that a Jewish organization to defend perverts of both sexes has existed since 1972, and that the first perverted rabbi came to office in 1990, in an obvious attempt to capitalize on anti-Israeli sympathies. They compare this unfavorably with Pope John Paul II, who is quoted as saying that the church denounced same-sex relations as “violating the laws of Nature.” Having dealt with Christianity, they move on to Islam: “In Iran, sodomy is punished in one of 4 ways: death by hanging, stoning to death, beheading with the sword, and throwing [presumably the sodomite] of the highest place.” The author of the article produces Christian and Islamic arguments against homosexuality because Egyptians are Christians and Moslems, but prominently showcases Jewish supporters of homosexuality—although there are anti-gay groups among Jews as everywhere else—because Egyptians view Israel as the enemy.

The third article, by Atef Helmy, is entitled “Religious Opinion”, and quotes the Koran and the Bible. From the Koran there is a quote that says “And we gave Lot wisdom and knowledge and delivered him from the village that practiced vices (Al Anbiyaa 74). The reporter says that interpreters of the Koran classify the ‘vices’ that Lot’s people practiced under 22 perverted practices, of which homosexuality is one. Others include wearing bracelets (?) and earrings (??) and winking with the eyes, and wiggling the eyelids (!!) From the Bible he quotes “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (Leviticus 20:13)

The fourth article is devoted to the Psychoanalysis of Perversion (always good for a laugh). This time the speaker is Dr. Hashem Bahary, Professor of Psychology at Al-Azhar University. He says that “according to the recommendations issued and international medical classifications, perversion [he means homosexuality] is not an illness.” But he goes on to say “in fact, we need to have a society with its own values and behaviors in life [and] a special evaluation of this case. Therefore we see that these people are sick, suffering from a behavioral disturbance.” He adds that “this disease spreads in closed communities that forbid the mingling of the sexes, and also in societies where all desired are fulfilled, so that people are constantly seeking new thrills.” Seeking to appear liberal, he states that “we have to give them a full chance for treatment, because no-one is infallible.”

The fifth article, by Soheir Shamardal, is devoted to anti-gay organizations. Sorry, that should be “anti-perversion” organizations. It states that in the USA, there are organizations against perverts, such as GLAAD [sic!!] and fundamentalist Christian groups, which have published a book on “Sodomy and the Family: From the Christian and Protestant Viewpoints”, and Christian organizations against granting “perverts” the right to adopt.

The sixth article, by Dalia Helal, is entitled “Taking Advantage of the Climate of freedom”. Basically, it says that the West wants to impose perversion on the Arab and Islamic world in the name of human rights, and “in spite of the sodomites’ loud voices, and their flags with rainbow colors, there exists a truth that cannot be ignored, which is that their societies reject them as a group.”

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