Egypt expands crackdown on LGBT community
- Dozens of LGBT Egyptians have been arrested , including raids on cafés and detentions following a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila (fronted by a gay man).
- As citizens continue to be subjected to invasive medical examinations and entrapment via social media and mobile apps, Egypt’s media regulatory body issued a statement condemning homosexuality as a “sickness” and barring the presence or representation of gay people in the media.
- In addition to political and law enforcement assaults, LGBT Egyptians have recently been the targets of cultural campaigns by the media and conservative religious and academic leaders.
“Brutal crackdown has gay and transgender Egyptians asking: Is it time to leave?” (The Los Angeles Times | October 2017)
“Egypt’s latest crackdown on gays creates fear in LGBT community” (USA Today | October 2017)
“Unofficial Translation of Statement by Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation” (Human Rights Watch | October 2017)
New NGO law severely curtails capabilities of rights organizations and charities in Egypt
- President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ratified a law limiting NGO work to developmental and social work activities and subjecting them to government regulation, with violators facing to up to five years of jail time.
- NGOs will have one year to come into compliance with the law or be dissolved.
- Human rights organizations accused the government of attempting to quell dissent, with officials long having accused NGOs of taking foreign money to destabilize national security.
“Egypt issues controversial NGO law, cracking down on dissent” (Reuters | May 2017)
“The Latest: Egypt’s president ratifies law restricting NGOs” (The Associated Press via ABC News | May 2017)
“Egypt’s NGO law aims to ‘erase civil society’” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via Reuters)
More than two dozen Coptic Christians killed in attack in Egypt
- Gunmen killed at least 29 and wounded two dozen more in Minya Province while they were en route to a monastery in central Egypt.
- The Islamic State claimed responsibility, the latest in a series of attacks by the fundamentalist group on the religious minority that has left more than 100 dead since December 2016.
- Thousands mourned the dead at the Church of the Sacred Family in the village of Dayr Jarnous before beginning a defiant march expressing outrage and calling for retribution.
“Grief, rage in Egyptian church after Copts attacked by gunmen” (Reuters | May 2017)
“Gunmen in Egypt Force Coptic Christian Pilgrims From Buses and Kill 28” (The New York Times | May 2017)
“Egypt Coptic Christians: IS claims attack” (BBC News | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Amr Nabil/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
At least three dozen killed in church bombings in Egypt
- At least 25 were killed and 78 injured at St. George’s Church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, while a second targeted St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic Pope in Alexandra, killing at least 11 and wounding 35.
- The bombings, claimed by the Islamic State, came during Palm Sunday observances, a week before Easter and ahead of a planned visit by Pope Francis.
- The attacks are the latest in a series committed by fundamentalist Islamic militants, with the Islamic State having shifted its strategy in Egypt to targeting the country’s Coptic Christian minority.
“Bombings at Egyptian Coptic churches kill 36, injure more than 100” (Reuters | April 2017)
“ISIS Claims 2 Deadly Explosions at Egyptian Coptic Churches on Palm Sunday” (The New York Times | April 2017)
“Egypt: Isis claims responsibility for Coptic church bombings” (The Guardian | April 2017)
(Image Credit: Khaled Elfiqi/European Pressphoto Agency, via The New York Times)
Hundreds storm gate to Morocco-Spain border at Ceuta exclave
- The autonomous Spanish enclave of Ceuta, one of only two land borders between Africa and Europe, saw some 850 sub-Saharan migrants and asylum-seekers scaling barbed wire fences along the five-mile border between Morocco and Spain to reach the immigration center inside.
- The city, located on the northwest coast of Morocco, has long been the site of attempts to cross into Europe, although strong security forces have kept most attempts at bay.
- The event follows a similar—though unsuccessful—one from New Year’s Day, when more than 1,000 attempted to breach the gate.
“Los saltos en la valla de Ceuta se duplican tras la amenaza de Marruecos” (El País | February 2017)
“Morocco uses migrant crisis as leverage in EU free trade dispute” (France24 | February 2017)
“Risking Injury and Arrest, African Migrants Storm a Gate to Europe” (The New York Times | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Jesus Moron/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
Italy rescues almost 2,500 asylum-seekers in Mediterranean over three days as trips and deaths surge
- The Italian Coast Guard pulled 1,100 from nine vessels in one day following the rescue of 1,360 in the previous two days as migrant deaths are up by more than 330% over 2016.
- More than 10,700 have crossed the Mediterranean in the first months of 2017, an increase of a third over 2016.
- Recently, Italy and the U.N. agreed to fund migrant camps, Coast Guard training, and anti-smuggling efforts in Libya to stem the flow of migrants into southern Europe, a move criticized by humanitarian groups because of Libya’s political insecurity and harsh treatment of migrants.
“Italy says 2,500 boat migrants rescued at sea in three days” (Reuters | February 2017)
“Migrant Fatalities Surge on Libya-Italy Mediterranean Route” (Voice of America | February 2017)
“Can E.U. Shift Migrant Crisis to the Source? In Libya, the Odds Are Long” (The New York Times | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Reuters, via Voice of America)
Hundreds of Christians flee as Islamic State violence increases in Egypt
- Dozens of families and more than 200 students fled the province of North Sinai as the Islamic State warned of more attacks against Christians in the country.
- Seven Christians have been killed over the last month in the provincial capital Arish, where the Islamic State is making an insurgent push.
- Militants circulated “death lists” online, forcing Christians to choose between flight or death.
(Image Credit: Ahmed Aboulenein/Reuters)