LGBT Muslims Condemn Ongoing Trial of "Cairo 52"
Al-Fatiha Foundation, August 29, 2001
US Tel.: 202-390-5305
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, Merciful
"Portraying human rights as something that contradicts Egyptian social
norms is nothing but a ploy to take the pressure away from the real issue at
hand..." Faisal Alam, Founder & Director, Al-Fatiha
August 29, 2001 Al-Fatiha, an international organization dedicated to
Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) condemned the
ongoing trial which 52 men who are being detained because of their alleged
sexual orientation. The men who were arrested in late May and early June faced
an initial hearing in July and the first day of their trial occurred on August
15, 2001. The men who are being referred to as the "Cairo 52" have
been in prison for more than three months and will face the second day of
their trial today, August 29, 2001.
In a letter sent to the Egyptian embassy in Washington DC and faxed to
President Hosni Mubarak today, Al-Fatiha condemned the government of Egypt for
failing to release the men. "With thousands of emails, phone calls, and
letters sent to your government and with demonstrations around the world to
condemn the trial, it is extremely sad that such an international outcry has
fallen on deaf ears," wrote Faisal Alam, Founder & Director of Al-Fatiha
in the letter. The letter continues by saying that "portraying human
rights as something that contradicts Egyptian social norms is nothing but a
ploy to take the pressure away from the real issue at handthe mistreatment,
harassment, and torture that the 52 men have faced." The letter ends by
urging the government of Egypt to release the men immediately.
International human rights organizations, LGBT groups, faith-based
organizations, civil rights groups and government officials around the world
have condemned the trial and have demanded the immediate and unconditional
withdrawal of the men.
The Egyptian government flatly denies that the men have been arrested
because of their sexual orientation and continues to say that they were
engaged in public sex acts which are considered immoral by Egyptian society
and are criminalized through Egyptian laws.
In a meeting held on August 14 with a representative of Amnesty
International USA, Egyptian officials stressed that the men were part of a
religious cult that blasphemies the religion of Islam and threatened Egyptian
civil society. In a separate meeting held with the Egyptian embassy in Sweden
after protests were held in Geneva outside of a UN building, representatives
of the Swedish Federation of LGBT Rights (RFSL) and the Amnesty International
Swedish section on August 22, 2001, Egyptian officials emphasized that the men
were indeed going to have a fair trial even though it is taking place in an
Emergency Security Court where no appeals on rulings are allowed.
Al-Fatiha has also learned from these two meetings that a minor (the age
has not been determined) was arrested together with the men and is facing a
Al-Fatiha launched an international campaign in late July 2001 to bring
world-wide attention on Egypt and the on-going trial in Cairo. On August 15
(the first day of the trial) Al-Fatiha marked an International Day of
Solidarity and Mourning by collaborating with dozens of organizations around
the world to hold concurrent demonstrations in ten cities. In addition
thousands of people across the globe flooded the Egyptian government with
emails, phone calls, and faxes to denounce the arrest and demanded the
immediate and unconditional release of the 52 men.
Today (on August 29) Al-Fatiha has renewed that call to action by asking
people around the world to once again flood the Egyptian government with
emails, faxes, and phone calls to put pressure on the government to release
Emails, phone numbers, and faxes of Egyptian embassies and consulates
around the world can be found at: http://www.mfa.gov.eg/missions_a.asp?id=0505
A copy of the letter sent to the Egyptian embassy in Washington DC and
faxed to President Hosni Mubarak is below.
His Excellency, President Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah. I greet you in the name of peace and I pray
that you are in the best of health and in an ever-increasing state of Imaan.
As you may already know today marks the second day of the trial of
fifty-two men who are facing an Egyptian Emergency Security Court in Cairo,
charged with "obscene behavior" and "contempt for
religion." The men were arrested on the night of May 11 when Egyptian
police raided a night club outside of Cairo.
Al-Fatiha, an international organization dedicated to Muslims who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) together with other
international human rights organizations including Amnesty International
believes that the men have been arrested and detained (now for more than 3
months) based on their alleged sexual orientation.
While there is no doubt that you aware that Egypt is a signatory to
international human rights laws including the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, I would like to remind you that the Emergency Security
Court which will try these men allows no appeal to a higher tribunalviolating
the express provisions of this law which Egypt has ratified. The abuse and
reported torture in prison which the men have endured is not only a violation
of international human rights laws but also a violation of Islamic law which
prohibits any physical harm to prisoners before a proper trial has been held.
On August 15, 2001the first day of the trialAl-Fatiha declared an
International Day of Solidarity and Mourning to condemn the detention of the
men who have been in prison for more than 3 months now. With thousands of
emails, phone calls, and letters sent to your government and with
demonstrations around the world to condemn the trial, it is extremely sad that
such an international outcry has fallen on deaf ears. The Egyptian media has
portrayed the arrested men as "perverts" and have denounced the
organizations condemning the trial as well. But portraying human rights as
something that contradicts Egyptian social norms is nothing but a ploy to take
the pressure away from the real issue at handthe mistreatment, harassment,
and torture that the 52 men have faced.
Today, August 29, 2001as the second day of the trial of 52 men begins I
urge your government to observe its own Islamic principles and ideals by
immediately releasing the men. Human rights are NOT contradictory to Islamic
rights! I also urge you to think of their families, relatives, loved ones, and
friends, who are suffering every day wondering what their sons have done
Yours in Islam,
Founder & Director
PO Box 33532
Washington, DC 20033
United State of America
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