Online campaign targets homophobia in Arab world

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An online magazine has launched a campaign asking readers in Arab countries to photograph themselves with messages speaking out against homophobia and “media silence” on LGBT issues

Aswat magazine launched the ‘Love for All’ campaign through Facebook to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May. They plan to run it until the end of the month.

Activist Maher al Haj told Tunisia Live: “We aim to educate not only the LGBTQ Arab community but also reach out to others as well who might have many misconceptions about us.

“We are humans like others, we exist everywhere and we deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated within the fabrics of our societies like all other groups in society.”

Al Jazeera reports that the campaign has already received submissions from Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen, and Algeria.

One asks: “The kingdom of Morocco is a country of rights, law, and democracy. So where are the rights of the people?

Another reads: “Homophobia does not have a religion. I am Muslim and I am against homophobia.”

The photographs avoid showing the faces of those involved in the campaign, which led to criticism from one commenter, who said: “I did not ‘see’ any citizens holding signs. Until people can be brave enough to show their faces nothing will change.”

Earlier this year LGBT campaigners in Egypt reported that life had gotten worse for gay people since the Arab Spring.