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Egypt to ban atheism in case it turns people gay

Egypt to ban atheism in case it turns people gay

A previous protest where an activist flew a rainbow flag at the pyramids in Giza.

Atheism could be banned in Egypt in a bid to stop people ‘turning’ gay.

The parliamentary committee on religion has revealed plans to make ‘promotion of atheism’ illegal.

It is thought this is in a bid in case another bill, deemed to be the most ‘homophobic law in the world’, fails.

Will banning atheism stop people from ‘turning’ gay? (Spoiler: No)

Speaking exclusively to Gay Star News, a lawyer in Cairo has decoded the law that will ban ‘promotion of atheist thought’.

Abdul, a lawyer who has asked us to not use his last name, says Egyptian psychologists and the media have claimed atheism leads to ‘mental imbalances’.

‘”Mental imbalances” is code for anything they would consider a perversion, such as homosexuality, adultery or psychopathy,’ he said.

In this case, Abdul states, it’s clear politicians have a false ‘concern’ atheism could lead to people ‘turning’ gay.

The lawyer says it is not an accident this bill is being planned now.

Crackdown against LGBTI rights in Egypt

Fans wave rainbow flags at Mashrou' Leila gig in Cairo.

A recent crackdown on LGBTI rights in Egypt has led to a minimum of 34 people now in jail.

The charges against these people are varied, including ‘debauchery’, ‘inciting sexual deviancy’ and ‘joining an outlawed group’.

In the media, Egyptian outlets are falsely crying out homosexuality as a ‘disease’ that must be ‘stopped’.

The new bill, harshly punishing LGBTI activism, could be made law early next year.

Banning atheism could be a way of further criminalizing homosexuality

Abdul suggests the crackdown against the LGBTI community, as well as the bill against homosexuality and activism, has some parliamentarians concerned.

‘Politicians must know the world is watching them. They could face sanctions if the new anti-LGBTI law is passed.

‘It could affect trade, Egypt’s relations with other countries, and could lead to criticism from international leaders.’

So if the anti-LGBTI bill fails, a law attacking atheism could be a way of further criminalizing homosexuality.

Behind the most ‘homophobic bill in the world’

The anti-LGBTI measure, introduced by MP Riyad Abdel Sattar, will punish gay sex in a public or private by prison for one year to three years.

‘Individuals that incite same sex relations, either by inciting, facilitating, hosting, or calling for, even if they don’t perform the act itself, will be punished to prison…as well as shutting down the venue,’ the bill says.

Both publicity and advertising for LGBTI parties, bars and clubs will be banned.

‘It is strictly prohibited to carry any symbol or sign of the homosexual community, as well as it’s prohibited to produce, sell, market, or promote such products. Violators will be sentenced to prison for a period no less than one year and no more than three years.’

This means activists, journalists covering gay events, or anyone even carrying a rainbow flag could be imprisoned.

It is already taboo to be atheist in Egypt

While no details about the new anti-atheist bill have been revealed, it is already taboo to not be a believer in Egypt.

Around 90% of Egypt’s population considers itself Muslim. Around 10% are majority Christian, with a tiny minority declaring themselves atheist.

Dar al-Ifta, a government-affiliated Islamic centre, claimed in 2014 there are 866 atheists in the country – amounting to 0.001% of the population.  The Guardian called the number ‘suspiciously precise’.

Novelist Alaa Hamad was jailed for two months for publishing a book that contained atheistic ideals in 2011. It was considered a ‘threat’ to national unity and social peace.

‘Repression will not turn gay people straight,’ said Human Rights Watch Sarah Leah Whitson. ‘It will only perpetuate fear and abuse.’