The American agenda is promoting the rights of homosexuals … I am not against freedom of expression, but this abnormal phenomenon should not be presented as natural. Even if it has roots here, it is rejected by society. And by Islam.

Mostafa Bakry, an Egyptian newspaper editor and member of parliament, quoted in today’s New York Times Magazine article about homosexuality in Egypt. The Queen Boat incident, in which police raided a floating nightclub on May 11, 2001, and subsequently detained and tortured 52 men, attracted attention in the western press about general human rights — and specifically gay rights — abuses in Egypt. Since campaigning for gay rights can be dismissed as yet another aspect of the West’s agenda of cultural imperialism, human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, have couched discussion of gay rights abuses in the broader context of human rights abuses. Despite local and international attention, raids, attempts at censorship (of scenes, for example, in the recent production of “The Yacoubian Building,”), and social trauma seem undiminished.

Mimi Hanaoka

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