Persecution of lesbians and gays in the Middle East increasingly brutal

By Benno von Sandhayn
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
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The rising wave

Introduction In the Middle East, the situation for the LGBTIQ+ community is drastically worsening. A growing number of states are resorting to increasingly harsh measures against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. What is behind the persecution of lesbians and gays in countries like Iran, Lebanon or Jordan?


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Middle East and the Brutalization against LGBTIQ+

1. cybercrime law in Jordan

A new tool of oppression Jordan, a country once considered relatively tolerant, recently passed its controversial cybercrime law through King Abdullah II. The law, which criminalizes activities such as “inciting indecency” and spreading “fake news,” poses a direct threat to the LGBTIQ+ community.

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In addition to the obvious criminal consequences, the community also fears for their ability to move anonymously around the web, as access to certain browsers often used for covert communications is now illegal.

2. persecution of lesbians and gays as political maneuvering

In many countries in the region, including Jordan and Iraq, the persecution of lesbians and gays often appears to be less for deeply rooted cultural or religious reasons and more as a political tool to distract attention from domestic problems and grievances. This becomes particularly clear when one observes how these issues come to the fore before important political events, such as elections.

Persecution of lesbians and gays in the Middle East increasingly brutal
Persecution of lesbians and gays in the Middle East increasingly brutal
3. from Iran to Lebanon

A common denominator Countries like Iran have enforced draconian laws against the LGBTIQ+ community for decades. Here, homosexuality is a capital crime, and conservative religious views dominate politics and society. But even in countries like Lebanon, previously considered more liberal, there seems to be an increase in aggression and hatred towards the LGBTIQ+ community. This shows that the issue has a common dimension beyond national borders.

4. the role of social media and internet technology

While the Internet and social media allow members of the LGBTIQ+ community to connect, inform themselves, and build support networks, they also provide authorities with new avenues for surveillance and prosecution.

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In Egypt, for example, people have been arrested after sharing or liking LGBTIQ+-friendly content. Using dating apps can be dangerous in some countries, as they are used as traps for unsuspecting users.

5. international reactions and their effects

Some Western countries have expressed concern about human rights abuses in the Middle East and imposed sanctions on specific countries or officials. While these measures are well-intentioned, they can sometimes be counterproductive. In some cases, they strengthen the hands of hardliners who use Western “interference” as justification for their policies.

Persecution of lesbians and gays in the Middle East increasingly brutal
Persecution of lesbians and gays in the Middle East increasingly brutal
6. the need for local advocacy and education

There are many courageous activists in the region who are standing up for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people despite significant risks. Their work, often done in secret, ranges from providing safe spaces and medical assistance to educating and raising public awareness. Supporting these activists, both morally and financially, is critical.

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7. hope on the horizon!?

Despite the many challenges, there are signs of hope. In some countries, such as Tunisia and Israel, there has been progress on the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community. It is important to highlight these positive stories and support the countries that are making progress to encourage other countries in the region to follow suit.

8. the role of religion and cultural traditions

Religion plays a central role in daily life and politics in many Middle Eastern countries. In many interpretations of Islam and Christianity in the Middle East, LGBTIQ+ rights are considered incompatible with religious teachings.

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Understanding and acknowledging these religious beliefs is critical to bringing about meaningful dialogue and change. However, there are also many voices within these religions that argue for a more inclusive interpretation and emphasize the importance of human rights.

9. diaspora and international support

Many LGBTIQ+ people from the Middle East have sought refuge in Western countries to flee persecution and violence. This diaspora plays an important role in raising awareness of the situation in their home countries and mobilizing international support. At the same time, there is a risk that these stories are sometimes presented without context, which can lead to stereotypes and misunderstandings.

10. the way forward: collaborative efforts

The path to a more inclusive and just society in the Middle East requires the cooperation of activists on the ground, international organizations and supporting countries! By sharing best practices, resources, and moral support, effective strategies can be developed that respect both local culture and universal human rights.

Conclusion on the persecution of lesbians and gays

The persecution of lesbians and gays in the Middle East is becoming increasingly brutal. Political, economic and religious reasons intertwine to form a dangerous web for the affected communities. It is necessary to respond to these worrying developments at the international level in order to protect and preserve the rights and freedoms of all people.

Source: n-tv

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