A Widespread And Coordinated Anti-LGBTQIA+ Campaign Is Currently Underway In Much Of The Arab World And Islamic World

This seems to be the last straw, in response to which the Middle East (Saudi/Iran)-led conservative Islamic schools called for these Anti-LGBTQIA+ measures and campaigns. 

The campaign is being seen as a reaction to the recent conversations around LGBTQIA+ folks within the mainstream Islamic culture. Within the western context, Queer Rights activists often ally with Muslim Rights activists. It is done with the understanding that all Muslims are equally oppressed and can relate to each other; that they are likely to support each other.

This in turn led to an increased visibility of queer folks within the western Islamic culture and family systems. Additionally, in the post covid world there has also been an increase in the visibility of both queer culture and Queer Muslim persons. This led to a lot more discussions about contemporary mainstream Islamic Culture’s point of view on LGBTQIA+ issues.

With this, a renewed interest in the hidden queer folks of Islamic culture has begun, with people putting together research papers and well-researched YouTube videos showcasing the presence of queer folks throughout Islamic history.

Around the same time, Ilhan Abdullahi Omar became the first woman of color to represent Minnesota at the US House of Representatives. She is also one of the first two Muslim women (along with Rashida Tlaib) to serve in the US Congress, and came out in support of the LGBTQIA+ community,

This seems to be the last straw, in response to which the Middle East (Saudi/Iran)-led conservative Islamic schools called for these Anti-LGBTQIA+ measures and campaigns. 

Qatar, (Host of the FIFA World Cup 2022)

Qatar security forces often arbitrarily arrest LGBTQIA+ identifying folks subject them to emotional, physical and sexual abuse in detention even as recently as September 2022. This has come under increased scrutiny as Qatar prepared to host the Fifa World Cup 2022 in November. Although For the World Cup, Qatar has consistently said “everyone is welcome” and rainbow flags can be displayed in the eight stadiums. But this approach has only caused more offence and dismay among LGBTQIA+ identifying people within Qatar.

Qatar has harsh anti-LGBTQ laws, with same-sex sexual activity punishable by up to seven years in prison. Human Rights Watch documented six cases of severe and repeated beatings and five cases of sexual harassment in police custody between 2019 and 2022. Security forces arrested people in public places based solely on their gender expression and unlawfully searched their phones. As a requirement for their release, security forces mandated that transgender women detainees attend conversion therapy sessions at a government-sponsored “behavioral healthcare” center.

Dubai, UAE

“Teachers returning for the new academic year in the United Arab Emirates were struck by a new bureaucratic demand. In a new code of conduct, one clause in particular jumped out: “refrain . . . from discussing gender identity, homosexuality or any other behaviour deemed unacceptable to UAE society”. School management, responding to the perceived clampdown, have removed rainbow flags from classrooms and told teachers to remove rainbow wristbands. Children have been told that discussion of topics such as same-sex marriage and homosexuality is no longer allowed. –  Written by @simeonkerr For @financialtimes.

Amazon blocks searches for LGBTQ+ products in the United Arab Emirates amid regional anti-homosexuality push

“After hearing from the Emirates, Amazon had its Restricted Products team take steps to remove individual product listings, and a team that manages the company’s search abilities hid the results for more than 150 keywords,” the Times wrote in its report. Those keywords included “lgbtq,” “pride,” “closeted gay” and “transgender flag,” among others, the CNBC report said.


2 Iranian women have been sentenced to death for their activism in support of the country’s LGBT community.

The state IRNA news agency reported the sentences of Zahra Hamadani and Elham Chubdar on September 5, a day after the Hengaw human rights network said it had received reports that the two were informed of the punishment a few days earlier.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had accused the two of “promoting homosexuality, gambling, fraud, and promoting illicit sexual relations and publishing them on the Internet.” @rfe.rl
The UN has demanded Iran to halt the death sentence.


The Egyptian education ministry has ordered educational directorates to integrate concepts of sexual education, sexual harassment and sexual violence into the basic education curriculum, local media reported on Thursday.

The move is an aim to protect children following increasing public concern that they may imitate “deviant” sexual behaviours – which many in Egypt consider to include homosexuality – as children watch content online, according to Sada El Balad and Egypt Independent.

Internet in Egypt

An anti-LGBTQ campaign named Fetrah is making waves on social media after it urged users to promote the idea that there are only 2 genders, male and female.

Taken from the Arabic word for “human instinct”, Fetrah surfaced after International Pride Month in the Middle East.

Its creation follows a number of political controversies particularly in Saudi Arabia where authorities announced a recall of all rainbow-colored toys and clothing for children in Riyadh for “promoting homosexuality”. @euronews


We’re already exposed to all kinds of harassment and attacked on a daily basis,” he said. “And that’s even before this law to criminalize homosexuality has been enacted.”

In July, Iraq’s government announced that it was planning a law prohibiting homosexuality. Iraq is one of three Arab-majority countries in the Middle East that doesn’t explicitly criminalize same-sex relationships. The others are Jordan and Bahrain.

If the law is passed, it would bring Iraq in line with the rest of the region. Most other Middle Eastern nations outlaw same-sex intimacy more directly, punishing it with anything from fines to prison to, in Saudi Arabia, the death penalty, @dwnews.

Netflix – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar

Saudi Arabia led all 6 Gulf states, including the UAE, in demanding that streaming platform Netflix remove shows deemed un-Islamic. The call followed a local media campaign accusing Netflix of promoting homosexuality, a criminal offence in many countries in the region. Written by @simeonkerr For @financialtimes.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi authorities seize rainbow toys in crackdown on homosexuality

Pencil cases, skirts and hats among items targeted for ‘contradicting Islamic faith and public morals’ @guardian.


In the face of threats and threats, the LGBT community, which is already marginalized in Lebanon, has abandoned organizing gatherings and activities, and its supporters have recently canceled advocacy movements after the authorities tightened the noose more and more under the pretext of customs and religions and in the midst of an economic crisis that doubled the isolation of its members.

“It has become very frightening to be a LGBT person in Lebanon at the moment,” Tarek Zeidan, director of the LGBT rights organization Helem, told AFP.


Indonesia’s LGBTQ community fears crackdown under legal reforms.

Indonesia’s parliament is currently debating on the country’s criminal code. LGBTQ rights activists are worried new legal standards on morality could be used to persecute same-sex couples, @dwnews.

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