U.S. newspaper to Egypt: Stop anti-LGBT arrests

The Washington Post is calling for an end to the ongoing campaign of anti-LGBTI repression by Egypt, a country that depends on huge amounts of  American aid.  Prison sentences imposed last month on 11 allegedly gay men near Cairo triggered the newspaper’s response, though the editorial does  mention that the homophobic crackdown has been under way since 2013:

Egypt’s latest target: Gays

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (Photo courtesy of Ekurd.net)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. (Photo courtesy of Ekurd.net)

Apologists for Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah al-Sissi say the brutal repression he has unleashed since leading a 2013 military coup is necessary to combat domestic terrorists, including a branch of the Islamic State. That does not explain why dozens of secular liberal democrats have been imprisoned, nor why journalists, civil society groups, human rights activists and even an Italian doctoral student have become targets for security forces and prosecutors. It also does not explain an underpublicized but ugly crackdown on a community that has nothing to do with Islamist extremism: gay and transgender people. …

Egypt’s assault on gay men is another example of how much of the world remains hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, despite the recent progress in the West. As we reported last month, some 75 countries still criminalize same-sex acts [That’s a link to a United Nations list like this blog’s list of 79 countries with anti-LGBT laws]; Islamist extremists recently assaulted and killed two gay activists in Bangladesh. Authoritarian regimes in Russia, Uganda and elsewhere deliberately inflame hatred of gay people as a way of distracting attention from their own corruption.

It’s hard to know if that is Mr. Sissi’s intention. Certainly, he has plenty of reason to distract Egyptians, who appear increasingly fed up with the government’s failure to revive the economy or defeat the real terrorists based in the Sinai Peninsula. What’s clear is that the campaign against gay people is one of the multiple ways in which repression in Egypt has outstripped that of any regime in modern times. It has nothing to do with combating terrorism or even Islamism — and sooner or later, it’s sure to backfire.

For more information, read the full editorial in the Washington Post.

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One thought on “U.S. newspaper to Egypt: Stop anti-LGBT arrests

  1. Pingback: 2016 in review: a year of anti-LGBT violence, repression | 76 CRIMES

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