Egyptian police use dating sites to hunt down gay people

Though homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, police have been using social media and smartphone applications to hunt down and arrest gays and lesbians. Two gay Egyptians, who hide their sexuality and live in fear of being arrested, tell us their story.

A week ago, seven men were arrested after they appeared in a video showing a marriage ceremony between two men. The footage showed a gay couple exchanging vows and rings under a traditional canopy on a boat on the Nile, in the presence of a small group of friends. The footage was shared across social media and was picked up by the local press, who condemned this ceremony.

At the beginning of the week, the public prosecutor’s office ordered the two men featured in the ceremony to undergo “medical tests” that were supposed to be able to determine if they were homosexual. However, after the men were “tested,” the authorities admitted that the results showed that they had not engaged in homosexual relations.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt. Despite this, numerous people have been arrested while taking part in festivities celebrating gay unions and accused of “debauchery.” In May, for example, four men were arrested during a party organised in Nasr City, located east of Cairo. One of them was sentenced to 12 years of prison, the heaviest sentence ever given to an LGBT person in Egypt.

Egyptian police use dating sites to hunt down gay people | The FRANCE 24 Observers

Noah film should be banned says Egypt’s top Islamic body

Noah

Egypt’s top Islamic body said on Thursday the big budget Hollywood biblical epic “Noah” starring Russell Crowe was irreligious and should not be screened in the country.

Al-Azhar institute, one of the region’s main Sunni Muslim authorities, said the film, slated to open in Egypt on March 26, violated Islam by portraying a prophet.

The film has already angered some Christian institutions in the United States, with Crowe’s reportedly unconventional portrayal of Noah.

Al-Azhar can play an advisory role on censoring movies and books in Egypt, but does not have the final say.

Portraying a prophet “contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers … and antagonises the faithful,” the institution said in a statement.

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Egypt’s censorship board must approve any movie before it is shown, but it was not immediately clear whether it has approved “Noah” yet.

The Paramount Pictures website said the film would be released on March 26 in Egypt, and a day later in other Middle Eastern countries.

Egypt has censored other films in the past, including the blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” after protests from the Orthodox Coptic Church.

But it did allow the screening of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of Christ”, which depicts Jesus being crucified.

Noah film should be banned says Egypt’s top Islamic body – Telegraph