Mob Protests American Gay Tourists
March 17, 2003
SUMMARY: More than 300 Tanzanian Muslims staged a
noisy demonstration in central Dar es Salaam on March 14 to mark the arrival
of a gay tour from the United States.
More than 300 Tanzanian Muslims staged a noisy
demonstration in central Dar es Salaam on March 14 to mark the arrival of a
gay tour from the United States.
The protest followed traditional Friday prayers. One
third of Tanzania is Muslim. Notices of the demonstration were read out in
mosques throughout the city.
About 100 gay tourists from the United States are
scheduled to spend a month on a safari in the Tanzanian wilderness. Security
around the Dar es Salaam airport was tight and officials would not confirm
that the group actually arrived.
Nevertheless, the protesters took to downtown streets
accusing the gays of bringing immorality to the conservative country.
“Homosexuality is foreign to Africa and it is totally
against the teachings of Islam outlined in the Holy Koran,” Sheikh Musa
Kaleo, a preacher at Kigogo Mosque, told the crowd.
“These people are bringing immorality to our community
and the government is allowing them,” he said as the crowd jeered and
One of the leaders of the demonstration, Shaaban Mapeyo,
a Muslim youth leader, said the march sent a clear message to the gays and all
those who support the visit that Muslims were against “this foreign
Gays in the country lead an invisible life. One man, who
did not wish to be identified, said gay couples must be very careful not to
show any affection in public.
Earlier in the week a government spokesperson said that
in principle, the government has no objection to the visit of gay tourists.
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