Tag Archives: Cairo

Homosexuality in Egypt under further crackdown

Egyptian prosecution ordered on 12 October 2013 fourteen suspects to be detained for four days pending investigation after being caught “in the act of homosexuality” inside a health spa in the poor neighborhood of al-Marg, north-east of Cairo.
Al-Marg local police chief Khaled al-Haitamy confirmed to Egypt Independent that the detained were caught naked while they were “performing sodomy in closed rooms and using some sexual devices such as vibrators and tramadol [a pain-killer].”
Police confiscated the evidence, along with LE 900 from the center, which was then sealed off. The arrested, whose ages ranged from 30 to 60, were referred to a pathologist for forensic reports.
Using the law as a pretext
The timing of arrests came just a few days before Eid al-Adha, a religious holiday in Muslim countries. Dalia Abdul Hameed, a lawyer on gender issues, says this is no mistake. “The same happened last year around couple of days before Eid al-Adha when police stormed into an apartment and arrested seven gay men, referring them to Nozha police station and they were eventually acquitted,” she said.
The latest arrest, like the previous, is a clear message to the homosexual community, punishing them for their deviance from Egypt’s religious and social norms. “There are Muslims and Christians around who are strict in their rituals and traditions and they complained,” said al-Haitamy. “The owner of the place is a son of bitch and a khawal [fag]. He fled the scene. These gays are sick!”
In a religious and culturally conservative country such as Egypt, despite there not actually being a law criminalizing homosexuality, the state will still likely pursue the case. “Both the police and judiciary is likely to level charges of debauchery and prostitution at homosexuals to legalize arresting and indicting them,” said Dalia Abdul Hameed, a lawyer on gender issues.
The Egyptian government has trouble with laws dealing with homosexuality or gender issues as cultural traditions and religious norms are often used to justify the misuse of laws, says Adel Ramdan, a lawyer with Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, who has been working on gay issues for several years.
Ramdan told Egypt Independent that police usually crackdown on homosexual gatherings, claiming it is an act of debauchery criminalized by the law. Since these homosexual gatherings occur in areas the police deems as “commercial places,” they are then accused of paying money for sexual favors. In this particular case, their large numbers further cemented police suspicions, motivating police to raid and arrest all people on the premises.
The raid on the health spa, though viewed by many conservatives as a success, was performed without a warrant from prosecution. Instead, the raid was made solely off suspicions reported from residents about homosexual activity in the area.
“They were caught red-handed so we didn’t need a warrant from prosecution. It is the same if you arrest a thief or a murderer red-handed, then you do not need a warrant,” argued al-Haitamy.
Ramdan confirmed that in cases when police has reasonable suspicion that individuals are engaged in illegal activity, they can legally raid the premises without a warrant from prosecution. However, in this case, since the police had been undergoing investigations with neighbors and there was a doubt of suspicion, they should have requested a warrant from prosecution to undergo the raid.
Prostitution? Or just gay?
According to Ramdan, Egyptian law does not criminalize homosexuality as long as it does not entail business or receiving money in return for sexual acts. “As long as the sexual relationship is personal, it is not a crime. It is only criminalized if it is proved commercial sex, which entails an act of debauchery for a man and prostitution for a woman,” said Ramdan.
Although the 14 suspects were caught performing homosexual acts, prosecution has yet to prove they exchanged money for sex. Regardless, it seems these individuals will be indicted nonetheless as prosecution has made no distinction.
Yehia Shawkat, who was not a frequent client of the spa but had visited it on occasion, said that although he shares a dislike the establishment, the clients of the spa were not engaging in paid sexual services. “They were having sex, even gang sex but they could not afford to pay for it,” he said.
The police used the misnomer of the center’s physical therapy designation as proof that illegal activities were being conducted on the premises. “Besides, the center has no license and people were caught red-handed,” said al-Haitamy. “This center was set up for physical therapy not debauchery.”
Shawkat, who preferred not to give his real name, corroborated the police depiction of the conditions. The health spa, which he says was referred to as a “physical therapy center” as not to arouse suspicion, was an “awful, poor-quality center” and the whole sauna clientele were poor and from slum areas.
Since homosexual relationships in Egypt are mostly casual, Shawkat says, the poor tend to frequent more run-down establishments in order to find a sexual partner, whereas the rich go to high-class saunas where the owners follow stricter regulations to maintain reputation.
Like others, Shawkat originally discovered the center through an advertisement in other saunas with a picture implying it was for homosexuals. As none of the people arrested were from the neighborhood, al-Marg, many had made a far trek to visit the center.
Regardless, Shawkat denies any male prostitution took place in the center, saying the only money he paid was an admission fee of LE 10. Rather, the spa was a place where homosexual men could act out their urges away from the judging eyes of society.
In order to prove their participation in prostitution, police referred the accused to the forensic medical authority to check for penetration. Ramadan says such an examination is legally and humanitarianly baseless, as it does not prove that they were engaging in sexual acts for commercial purposes. “The condition of a person who has sex with his friend, which is lawful, would be the same as for illegal prostitution. The examination is merely intended to humiliate,” he said.
Apart from that, Ramdan says the “red-handed catch” must be based on tangible evidence such as the police seeing the incident directly rather than merely receiving reports. For example, “they could have gone to see the license of the center and come across the situation,” he said.
The stigma that homosexual people receive from both the society and police treating them as criminals drives gay people to put themselves in situations where they violate the law. If homosexuals were more tolerated in society, Ramdan says, many would not feel the need to visit underground “beauty centers” or “saunas” where they engage in casual public sex with strangers and sometimes run into trouble. “If Egyptians in general practiced sex normally, they would rarely go to brothels,” he said.
But since there are traditional, societal and state constraints, Ramdan says, homosexual people seek partners in suspicious or underground places. “Due to the state interference in people’s sexual life, we have many sex-related problems including sexual harassment, incest and customary law marriage, etc.,” he said.
Abdel Hameed affirms the state and society perspectives of gays should not be mixed up. Despite societal disdain to homosexuals, the state is assigned to respect human and personal freedoms.

Copts condemn Obama adviser for claiming Copts are spreading Islamophobia

Mohamed Elibiary recently got a promotion on the Homeland Security Advisory Council — in another indication of how topsy-turvy the values of this Administration are. “Coptic Leaders Condemn Obama Adviser’s Anti-Coptic Tweets,” by John Rossomando for IPT News, October 11:

Major Coptic leaders are condemning Mohamed Elibiary, an Obama administration Homeland Security adviser, for suggesting that Copts who raise awareness of anti-Christian violence in Egypt promote “Islamophobic” bigotry.Elibiary sent out a series of tweets that Coptic leaders found offensive last month. The tweets appeared to chastise the Coptic community for lobbying on behalf of their relatives in Egypt. He targeted them because they had aligned themselves with conservative groups that he called “Islamophobic.”

“VERY disturbing if true: bit.ly/18xotzi US DHS adviser accuses #Coptic#Christians of inciting Muslims! #Speechless! Pls comment!” Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Pope Tawadros II’s personal representative in the United Kingdom wrote in a Sept. 28 Twitter post.

Elibiary personally attacked Michael Meunier, president of Egypt’s al-Haya Party, two days earlier after Meunier spoke with The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) about Elibiary’s earlier offensive tweets against the Copts.

“Sad2c #Coptic@MichaelMeunier aid #Islamophobes anti US Muslim community agenda ….,” Elibiary wrote.

Meunier denounced Elibiary’s personal attack, saying the issue had nothing to do with Islamophobia – but that Elibiary threw out a straw man to protect the totalitarian Muslim Brotherhood.

“If you look at him you can definitely see that he is a sympathizer of the Brotherhood,” Meunier said. “If you are in the Brotherhood you don’t have a card. The guy put up the sign for R4BIA [on his Twitter account], a symbol for people who burn churches and kill people.”

Brotherhood defenders are trying to smear their critics as anti-Muslim bigots, rather than people concerned about Brotherhood violence and repression, Meunier said. “He has a grudge against my activism, my spending two months in Washington, highlighting the vicious activities of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Elibiary initially defended sporting the R4BIA on his Twitter profile, saying “#R4BIA=#Freedom4ALL.” But he relented to pressure Friday and removed it. “While I did remove #R4BIA twibbon as I updated my profile, my view & support of its human rights & pro democracy values continue. #AntiCoup,” Elibiary wrote.

R4BIA takes its name from Cairo’s Rabia ad-Alawiya Square, where hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood protesters were killed in armed clashes with Egyptian security forces in August.

The #R4BIA platform includes a litany of principles that run in open opposition to Western values. It invokes concepts such as: “pure martyrdom”; “unification of the Muslim World”; “the end of Zionists”; “the birth of a new movement for freedom and justice”; “justice for everyone against rotten Islamic values”; “the end of oil sheikhs”; and “the end of capitalists.”

“Western concepts such as democracy, human rights, freedom, equality and right to life, often exercised in a double standard, have utterly collapsed in Palestine, Syria, Bosnia and lastly in Egypt. With the spirit of the Rabia sign, these and similar concepts will be reinterpreted based on Islamic principles,” the section “How did R4BIA emerge?” says.

In a Twitter exchange with the IPT, Elibiary said that he has a nuanced view of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But does his “nuance” include a private endorsement of the #R4BIA movement’s stated goals? Elibiary is not talking despite several invitations by the IPT on Twitter to sit down in person and talk about his views on R4BIA and other issues despite his challenge for dialog….

What a surprise.

Muslim Brotherhood Kills Its Own


MuslimBrotherhoodOriginally published on Gatestone Institute.

New evidence indicates that some of the pro-Morsi protesters reportedly killed by the Egyptian military, after the Muslim Brotherhood president’s ouster, were actually killed by fellow pro-Morsi protesters. They did this, according to the report, to frame the military, incite more Islamist violence and unrest, and garner sympathy from America, which has been extremely critical of the military, especially in the context of the post-Morsi violence.

The Arabic satellite program, Al Dalil, (“The Evidence”) recently showed the evidence, which consisted mostly of video recordings.

One video records events on July 8, during pro-Morsi protests in front of the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi was being held, and where the bloodshed between the military and Brotherhood began.  The video shows a young man with a shaven head and a Salafi-style beard approaching the Republican Guard barrier; he gets shot, collapses to the ground, and dies—as other protesters fly into a rage against the military.  As the video plays, it seems clear that the military shot him.

However, watching the video in slow motion and in zoom clearly indicates that someone from behind him, from the pro-Morsi throng, shot him.  The whole time he falls, in slow motion, he is still facing the Republican Guard.  Yet when the camera zooms in, the bullet wound and blood are visibly at the back of his head; his front, facing the military even after he falls, does not appear to have a scratch.  Considering that the military was facing him, it seems apparent that a fellow Morsi-supporter shot him from behind.

On the same day this man in the video and others were killed, Muhammad Mahsoub, a former Brotherhood member and politician tweeted the following: “The Brotherhood sacrifice their youth in the streets, even as the sons of their leaders are at the beach resorts… Allah curse the hypocrites [based on a Koran verse];” and “I repeatedly warned al-Baltagi against his plan to antagonize the military in order to implicate it an attack on the protesters, but he insists on his plan…”

Baltagi is a Brotherhood leader who has been especially vocal about “getting back” at the military; he apparently also enjoys close relations with the widely disliked U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson.

Another video shown on Al Dalil is even more obvious.  An armored vehicle appears slowly driving by a group of pro-Morsi protesters, many easily discernible with their Salafi-style beards.  A shot is heard and the man nearest the passing vehicle collapses.  Again, at first, it appears that the men in the armored vehicle shot the man.

Played again in slow motion, however, it becomes apparent that the man in a gilbab (long Muslim style robe) standing directly behind the murdered man is actually the one who shot him; he then walked over to another man near him, gave him the weapon, and then quickly walked off the scene. Even the man on the roof who is taping this scene is heard to be asked, “Did the car [armored vehicle] shoot?” only to reply, “No, no.”

Even so, the desired effect of all these “human sacrifices” by the Brotherhood was accomplished: as with the other man, shot in front of the Republican Guard, many other pro-Morsi protesters rushed to the fallen man, screaming Islamic slogans and vowing relentless war on the military, as it supposedly “shot first.”

This second incident prompted the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, to call for “an uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks.”

To many Islamists, killing an ally to empower Islam is legitimate, especially in the context of two Islamic ideas: 1) jihad [war in the service of Islam], which in Islamic jurisprudence is considered the “pinnacle” of Islam—for its very function, from day one under Muhammad, is to make Islam supreme; and 2)  Islam’s overarching juridical idea that “necessity makes the prohibited permissible,” which means that laudable ends, for example empowering Islam, justify the use of forbidden means.  All that matters is one’s intention, or niyya.

Thus, because making Islam supreme is the greatest priority, anything and everything that is otherwise banned—killing fellow Muslims, lying, prostitution, even sodomy—becomes permissible, so long as it is seen as a way to advance and empower Islam.

Based on their intention of empowering Islam, those who commit or promote even the most horrific crimes are exonerated, while those “sacrificed” to empower Islam—such as those pro-Morsi supporters killed by the Brotherhood—are deemed martyrs, who will achieve the highest level of paradise.  From an Islamist point of view, it’s a win-win situation.

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