Blog archive: Egypt

  • 13th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Last December Egypt's minister of culture, Ines Abdel-Dayem, went into battle against sectarianism – armed with a flute. The minister, who is a former director of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra and a former chair of the Cairo Opera House, played her favourite instrument at a concert in Minya...
  • 4th February 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Proposed constitutional changes in Egypt, announced at the weekend, could keep President Sisi in power until 2034. Sisi is currently in the second of two four-year terms and, if the constitution remains unchanged, he must leave office in 2022. Under the proposals submitted to parliament...
  • 22nd January 2019
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Reverberations from a controversial pop concert are continuing in Egypt, more than a year after the event. It was in September 2017 that a performance by the Lebanese band, Mashrou' Leila, in Cairo triggered a moral panic. The band's lead singer is openly gay and several fans in the audience...
  • 3rd April 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Not content with securing 97% of the votes in Egypt's presidential "election", the Sisi regime is venting its wrath against local and foreign news media that ventured to criticise the process. On Sunday it was reported that the Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm had been fined LE 150,...
  • 22nd January 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Atheism is like terrorism and is part of an orchestrated plot to destroy Arab countries, an Egyptian government minister claimed last week. "The ideas of atheists, queers and extremists are time bombs" like the bombs of terrorists, Muhammad Mukhtar Juma'a, minister of awqaf (religious endowments...
  • 5th January 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    As Saudi Arabia relaxes its rules against cinemas and women drivers, Egypt now looks set to inherit the coveted title of Arab country with the most absurd restrictions. Having made little progress in combating an Islamist insurgency, the Sisi regime has turned its attention to the "...
  • 30th December 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A court in Egypt has separated a mother from her two children because she is an atheist. The decision to refuse custody of the children came from a family court in Cairo last Sunday, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reports. RFI gives no further details of the case but notes that it comes...
  • 23rd December 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The Egyptian parliament's committee on religion has announced plans to make disbelief in God a crime. Under the current law against "contempt of religions" atheists can be prosecuted for expressing their disbelief in public but the committee's proposal would go further and criminalise...
  • 23rd November 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Egyptian morality police are systematically using fake social media accounts to target LGBT people, according to a report published yesterday. Out of 232 prosecutions for "non-normative" sexual behaviour over the last four years, 129 – more than half – were the result of entrapment through...
  • 31st October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A week after Saudi Arabia unveiled plans to build a $500 billion futuristic megacity free from the kingdom's usual religious restrictions, there's confusion over what, exactly, will be allowed. A video presentation last week envisaged men and women working side by side in the new city, women...
  • 26th October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Amid the continuing moral panic over homosexuality in Egypt, a draft law submitted to parliament proposes not only to criminalise gay sex but also to ban rainbow flags and outlaw almost any kind of social activity involving gay people. The draft law, presented to the Speaker by MP Riad Abdel...
  • 4th October 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When the sight of a few people waving rainbow flags at a pop concert becomes an act of "moral terrorism", when it plunges a country into hysteria and the government responds by arresting dozens of people on suspicion of being gay and orders the media to show them no sympathy, it's time to ask why...

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