Egypt Officially Brands Homosexuality ‘Perverted’
The Egyptian State Information Service has issued a strongly worded
condemnation of homosexuality.
(U.K. glbt), March 13, 2002
The ESIS said that because homosexuality is illegal under Islamic Sharia
law, its practise is believed to be "socially detested". The
organisation said that homosexuality "defies normality," it blamed
gay men for spreading AIDS and branded homosexuals "perverts". The
statement went on to describe Egypt as enlightened in its criminalising of
homosexuality, and western countries who implement laws protecting partnership
rights for same sex couples as "perverted".
The outburst came about when a RainbowNetwork member, who has declined to
be named, contacted the ESIS in an attempt to find out more about the Cairo 52
case, in which a number of men were arrested by the Egyptian government and
imprisoned on charges relating to homosexuality. The member asked if it is
illegal to be gay in Egypt.
An anonymous spokesman for the ESIS, the official information service for
the Egyptian government, replied via email. He told the RainbowNetwork member:
"We have received your email by which you have expressed your
disappointment as regards the fate reserved for homosexuals and lesbians in
The email continued: "We, too, we are disappointed for the sympathy
you reserve for those who, by their immoral practices, defy and contempt very
cherished values of our society."
It read: "Egypt is a Muslim country and according to our Islamic
Sharia teachings and tenets, sex should be practiced between a male and a
female strictly through conjugal relations—the "family" being the
core and nucleus of the Islamic society. That is in full obedience and
conformity with the natural disposition of Mankind as Created by God for the
population of the Earth with righteous men and women, not wrong doers who
commit vice by practicing their lusts on men in preference to women (or the
latter with the same sex in preference to men)."
The email continued: "Consequently, homosexuality is socially detested
and legally condemned and persecuted. It defies the society’s norms and
moralities as inspired by the religion and stipulated by law. And this is for
the good interest of families and children to live in a society free from both
physical and psychological disease and problems. It is worth mentioning in
this context Egypt currently does not suffer from disastrous plagues such as
HIV AIDS which haunts non-Muslim societies."
It added: "Moreover, one might agree that such a perverted practice is
a question of individual freedom on the grounds that one can use or exploit
his own body freely and in the way he likes. But the freedom of anyone ends at
the point where other’s start. For instance, no one can take to the streets
all naked, thus offending the society and transgressing its values. In this
context it is worth noting that those perverts, while inside the bar for
trial, were very keen, out of shame, to cover and hide their faces from the
press cameras because they were innately aware that they have transgressed all
sacred tenets of society."
The statement criticised attempts in the West to enshrine gay rights in
law. It said: "It is not out of backwardness that we denounce and
criminalise homosexuality, for persecuting disgrace, mischief and perversion
is full in tune with our civilization, cultural and religious—the true
civilization, not the perverted one—which accepts and even legitimizes
homosexuality and homosexual marriage!!"
The email concluded: "Finally, and now that we are engaged in the
so-called dialogue between religions and civilizations, you might, one day,
come to understand not to accept our genuine values which have their roots
deep in the history of Egypt, the cradle of civilization."
The statement comes days after five men were sentenced to hard labour in
prison on convictions related to homosexuality.
It follows comments made last December by the Speaker of the Egyptian
parliament. Ahmed Fathi Surer said: "Homosexuality does not figure in
In recent years the Egyptian government has mounted an increasingly
aggressive campaign to arrest and prosecute homosexuals.
Although homosexuality is not explicitly referred to in the Egyptian penal
code, a wide range of laws covering obscenity, prostitution and debauchery are
applied to homosexuals
The RainbowNetwork member said: "I was quite amazed with the response,
but think it was a standard reply that other people might have received.
Politeness was repaid with a strident response which left me
He added: "I was very annoyed when the Prime Minister took a family
holiday in Egypt. To a degree I couldn’t help feeling that the Egyptian view
expresses what is left unsaid by some senior politicians in this
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