The names in this story have been changed to protect the women's identities out of concern for their safety. Five years ago, Fatima was 23 and studying law in Lahore, Pakistan. She wore blue jeans and a loose shirt and sported short boyish hair. That was the first sign she wasn't a typical Pakistani woman. She leaned in to share a secret she had revealed to only a few other people before: "I'm lesbian," she said hesitantly.

Control and Sexuality by Ziba Mir-Hosseini and Vanja Hamzić examines zina laws in some Muslim contexts and communities in order to explore connections between the criminalisation of sexuality, gender-based violence and women’s rights activism. The Violence is Not Our Culture Campaign and the Women Living Under Muslim Laws network present this comparative study and feminist analysis of zina laws as a contribution to the broader objective of ending violence in the name of ‘culture’. Attached is the whole book, available for download for free. Please do consider making a donation to WLUML.

In August 2006, a 27-year old pharmacist started blogging anonymously about her futile hunt for a husband in Mahalla al-Kubra, an industrial city 60 miles north of Cairo in the Nile Delta. Steeped in satirical humor, the blog of this “wannabe bride” turned into a powerful critique of everything that is wrong with how middle-class Egyptians meet and marry. The author poked fun at every aspect of arranged marriage -- from the split-second decisions couples are expected to make after hour-long meetings about their lifetime compatibility to the meddling relatives and nosy neighbors who introduce them to each other. She joked about her desperation to marry in a society that stigmatizes single women over the age of 30. She ridiculed bachelors for their unrealistic expectations and inflated self-images while sympathizing with the exorbitant financial demands placed on would-be husbands. Thirty suitors and four years later, the pharmacist remains proudly single at 32, refusing to settle for just any man.

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has reported an increase in the number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) teenagers coming forward to ask for help from them: This year, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. Last year, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total. Just how many of those involved lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) victims is unknown, because not everyone is willing to divulge their sexuality. However, it is thought this emerging trend is just the tip of the iceberg, as more gay men and women seek assistance.

The peace group Women in Black announced today that last night around 1:30 am, two young men invaded the organization's headquarters and with a hammer attacked men and women activists in the kitchen. This incident took place just before the holding of the Pride Parade in Belgrade, which indicates that  homophobia is the motive of the attackers, a statement declared. "That it was not a matter of a random incident was proven by the young men entering the room loudly calling for 'faggots' among those present, and looking for a fight," the Women in Black statement added.

I have to admit it's always hard to ever approach homosexuality here in Egypt. Homosexual people (or behavior) here is usually seen as one of three views: deviant people who deserve to be punished or even executed; sick people who need medical attention; or normal people only with a different sexual orientation (hardly ever adopted or expressed, even by gays themselves).

I hesitated to write about the upcoming account of events, but I felt it's too disturbing to ignore. The story goes as follows:

A young boy, Kareem (16 year old) was walking by in downtown area, Cairo. He was followed by four guys who were shouting insults to the young boy calling him a faggot. The boy just ignored their insults and kept going, the thing that seemed to provoke them, so they chased him until they caught him and started slapping and beating him violently (they were older and much stronger). It's not very clear why they decided to be that violent and abusive; although it seems to be basically driven by homophobia as Kareem's appearance looked “different”. Kareem screamed and ran towards police informers nearby but they didn’t bother to help the boy.

A month-long film festival featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) issues will open on Friday in Indonesia, the only such event screened anywhere in the Muslim world. The Q! Film Festival represents one of the largest gay pride festivals in Asia with more than 150 films, fringe events on sexuality and LGBT-themed book launches planned for six cities across this predominantly Muslim country. 

A movement is born ... We no longer want to hide, we do not want to hug the walls, we do not want to stand idly by, we will no longer suffer in silence, we do not want more laws 333 and 338 of the Algerian penal code, we will no longer respond . Now we will act. A date is also born, Oct. 10 date is proclaimed National Day of gays lesbians bi and trans Algerian (LGBTQ). Selim I Selim also said the terrible is born October 10, 1470 is considered to be frugal and thrifty, very religious and brutal. Among its actions, Selim sent to Istanbul sacred objects sword, the robe, the standard of the prophet and teeth and turned the center of the Caliphate in Istanbul and became the first Ottoman caliphate.

Un mouvement est nait... Nous ne voulons plus nous cacher, nous ne voulons plus longer les murs, nous ne voulons plus subir sans réagir, nous ne voulons plus souffrir en silence ; nous ne voulons plus des lois 333 et 338 du code pénal algérien ; nous ne voulons plus réagir. Désormais nous allons agir. Une date est née aussi ; le 10 Octobre est autoproclamé date de la journée nationale des gays lesbiennes bi et trans algériens (L.G....B.T.A). Selim Ier dit aussi Selim le terrible est nait le 10 octobre 1470 il est considéré comme frugal et économe, très religieux et brutal. Parmi ses actions, Selim envoya à Istanbul les objets sacrés l'épée, la robe, l'étendard et des dents du prophète et transforma Istanbul en centre du califat et devint le premier califat ottoman.

Ce recueil assemble une dizaine d’enquêtes conduites dans les différents pays du Maghreb (Libye, Tunisie, Algérie, Maroc, Mauritanie), qui cherchent à élucider les conditions dans lesquelles se crée une économie sociale des sexualités, plus diverse que ne le laisse supposer le paradigme d’une « personnalité arabo-musulmane ». Refusant les perspectives « orientalistes » (une sexualité arabo-islamique expliquée à partir des textes sacrés), culturalistes (une configuration maghrébine de la sexualité), moralistes (des sociétés corrompues par l’Occident) ou militantes (défense des libertés individuelles, féminisme, islamisme), ces ethnographies contemporaines restituent les tensions entre individualisme et ethos communautaire, entre prescriptions nationales et locales, entre éthique occidentale et prédication religieuse, l’une et l’autre intensément médiatisées. 

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