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'End the anti-gay witch-hunt': Mashrou' Leila 'heartbroken' by Egypt's crackdown on homosexuals after concert Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

'End the anti-gay witch-hunt': Mashrou' Leila 'heartbroken' by Egypt's crackdown on homosexuals after concert

The band's lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay [AFP]

Date of publication: 3 October, 2017

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Lebanon's popular alternative rock band denounces crackdown by Egyptian authorities against homosexuals after a rainbow flag was raised at one of the group's concerts in Cairo.
Popular Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila spoke out on Monday against the crackdown by Egyptian authorities on homosexuals, after a LGBT rainbow flag was raised during the group's latest concert in Cairo.

The band, whose lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay, said they were "heartbroken" by the crackdown, which has seen dozens of people arrested since the gig on September 22.

"We cannot begin to explain how saddened we are to see yet another era of backwards tyranny creep over one of our most beloved countries and audiences," the band said in a statement posted on its social media accounts late on Monday.

"It is sickening to think that all this hysteria has been generated over a couple of kids raising a piece of cloth that stands for love."

The band said they initially refrained from making a statement on the arrests for fear of "further inflaming the situation," but that it had "become rather apparent in the last 48 hours that the state apparatus is hell-bent on executing the most atrocious of human rights violations".

"The state is currently rounding up kids and violating their bodies," the statement added, in reference to reports that authorities planned to carry out anal examinations on suspected homosexuals swept up in the detentions.

We call on cultural producers, musicians, and activists, inside and outside Egypt, to express their solidarity with the Egyptian community during this horrible time. This is no longer something any of us can afford to ignore

"We denounce the demonization and prosecution of victimless acts between consenting adults," the statement said.


Read also: Exclusive: an interview with Mashrou' Leila 
'This is how we made it'
 

Mashrou' Leila called for an international campaign to pressure Egypt "to immediately halt its ongoing witch-hunt and release all detainees".

"We call on cultural producers, musicians, and activists, inside and outside Egypt, to express their solidarity with the Egyptian community during this horrible time. This is no longer something any of us can afford to ignore."

Nearly two dozen people were arrested by Egyptian authorities since the flag, a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, was waved by several people at a Mashrou' Leila concert on September 22.

Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but is highly taboo in Egypt among Muslims and minority Christians alike.

On Sunday, 17 men accused of homosexuality went on trial at a closed-door hearing facing charges of "debauchery" and "incitement to debauchery."

And the waving of the rainbow flag at Mashrou' Leila's concert provoked an outpouring of criticism in parts of Egypt's media.

Egypt's conservative musicians syndicate has said Mashrou' Leila would not be authorised to perform again in the country.

The group has previously been banned from performing in the Jordanian capital Amman.

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