On Monday, The New York Times Editorial Board seemingly demonstrated how furious it was with the Egyptian government’s stance on gay rights. Egypt had just acquitted twenty-six allegedly homosexual men on “debauchery” charges, and the Editorial Board worries they are now “likely to suffer a lifetime of public scorn.”
In their hit-piece against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his Egyptian government, The New York Times overlooks the President’s recent call for the reformation of Islam and its radical elements–a move that may have incredibly positive geopolitical results for United States national security interests. In his New Year’s speech, Sisi warned that his religion was slipping into the hands of radical clerics, and that world’s 1.6 billion Muslims have a duty to reclaim their religion as one that is truly peaceful. Sisi’s speech, which did not receive even a smidgen of praise or attention from the Times, may arguably deserve to be placed in history as the most important address from the Muslim world since 9.11.2001.
Egypt is far from a shining example of classical liberalism when it comes to gay rights, and has without a doubt violated the LGBT community’s basic human liberties. However, when comparing Cairo to that of its Islamic neighbors, the country remains ahead of the curve.
A small survey of Islamic countries and their treatment of allegedly gay individuals reveals a much different story–that a “lifetime of public scorn” may be the least of the LGBT community’s worries in the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia.
In Iran, gays are often told that they are actually transsexuals—and then are sometimes forced to undergo surgery that includes barbaric genital mutilation practices. Worse, if an Iranian homosexual insists that they are not having a gender crisis and are simply gay, they then face a death sentence. Gay rights activists estimate that the Islamic Republic of Iran has executed over 4,000 homosexuals since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In Saudi Arabia, homosexuality is punishable by a variety of sentences ranging from torture to castration, life in prison, and even death by beheading.
In Yemen, the country’s Shariah laws allow for LGBT “offenders” to face a death sentence. The same goes for gays living in Sudan, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Maldives, Brunei, and other Islamic countries.
In Syria and Iraq, The Islamic State recently stoned to death an allegedly gay man after throwing him off of a building.
So why write the piece in the first place? Why has the Editorial Board used its prominent space to pick on Egypt, when worse atrocities against gays remain a problem throughout Islamic lands?
The article’s second paragraph reveals the true motivation behind the Editorial Board’s piece: finding an excuse to bash the current ruling Egyptian government under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The Editorial Board writes:
Over the past two years, there has been no shortage of travesties and injustices in Egypt’s courtrooms… Mr. Mubarak’s Islamist successor, Mohamed Morsi, who was removed from power in a military coup, was locked up in a soundproof cage at his trial last year. Three journalists employed by the Doha-based Al Jazeera English network were outrageously sentenced to lengthy prison terms in June on allegations that they aided the Muslim Brotherhood, following a ridiculous trial that turned them into scapegoats of a fight between Egypt and Qatar. [emphasis added]
The New York Times remains furious that the Egyptian government would dare lock up individuals employed by a network that has in the past shown its affinity for former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and has, in recent times, dealt with mass resignations from employees who complained that Qatari management forced them to report with a heavy pro-Muslim Brotherhood bias.
The NYT Editorial Board then leads us to believe that gays would be better off under the previous Muslim Brotherhood regime led by former President Mohamed Morsi.
“Egypt’s treatment of gays is part of a dismal human rights record that has only gotten worse in recent months,” writes the Editorial Board. “The Obama administration and American lawmakers have not done enough to denounce the abuses of an increasingly authoritarian Egyptian government.”
However, all of the aforementioned countries have justified their horrific treatment of gays by declaring that their measures comply with the Quranic Shariah laws. The Shariah, of course, is heavily embraced by the Muslim Brotherhood. So what would become of the gay community in Egypt if the Muslim Brotherhood stayed in power?
In writing Hitler Put Them In Their Place: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s Jihad Against Jews, Judaism, And Israel, Historian Dr. Harold Brackman of the Simon Wiesenthal center has described how homosexuals may fare under MB rule. He writes, “In the Brotherhood’s version of ‘Islamic democracy,’ homosexuality is a perversion punishable by death.”
Many in Egypt’s growing LGBT community recognize that the current political environment in their country remains one where prominent leaders, including those from the Muslim Brotherhood, are not willing to stand up and defend their basic human rights.
And outside of issues concerning the LGBT community, the NYT Editorial Board seems to have forgotten about how the Muslim Brotherhood acted towards other minority communities during its short stint in power. Under the Muslim Brotherhood regime, Coptic Christians became second-class citizens overnight. Their churches, houses, and businesses were burned to the ground on a regular basis. Jews were described by president Morsi as “bloodsuckers” who were “the descendants of apes and pigs.” Furthermore, jihadi terrorists were welcomed back into the country with open arms, with the Sinai Peninsula becoming a breeding ground for radical terrorists. One of Morsi’s first acts as president was to demand the release of the ‘Blind Sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the US for planning the 1993 World Trade Center Bombings. Another initial official act of Morsi’s was to release Mohammed al Zawahiri, the brother of Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiti, from prison.
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