Egyptian TV presenter slammed for gay rights U-turn

Egyptian TV presenter slammed for gay rights U-turn
3 min read
29 Jun, 2015
Blog: Mona Iraqi has made controversial pro-LGBT remarks - only a year after leading a campaign against Egypt's LGBT community.
Mona Iraqi accompanied a police raid on a central Cairo bathhouse [Facebook]

Egyptian TV presenter Mona Iraqi has been criticised for hypocrisy and double standards after posting a tweet in support of LGBT rights on Saturday.

Translation: I support the right to live and love freely without persecution and with full respect for them [LGBT community] and others as well. #LoveWins

In December 2014, Iraqi accompanied a police raid on a central Cairo bathhouse, with her television crew filming and taking pictures of at least 25 half-naked men as they were arrested for "perversion" and dragged into police trucks.

On her Facebook page, Iraqi claimed the reason behind the raid was to expose a "group sex den" that allegedly contributed to the spread of HIV in Egypt.

The raid came as part of a growing crackdown on Egypt's LGBT community at the time. Even though homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in Egypt, it remains socially taboo in many circles.

As such, when the defendants were later acquitted by a Cairo court in January 2015, they still had to face the associated social stigma of being accused of homosexuality.

One defendant even attempted suicide after the scandal.

At the time, Iraqi's sensationalist media campaign was widely criticised and condemned by LGBT and human rights activists.

So her tweet on Saturday, as millions of gay people and their allies were celebrating Gay Rpride events, surprised and angered many.

Translation: A few months ago Mona Iraqi destroyed the lives of some men for a scoop on homosexuals in Egypt. Today she congratulates homosexuals in the US for the [equal marriage] court decision. At least have some shame!

Translation: Mona Iraqi thinks homosexuality in Egypt is gross and should be exposed, but in the US it is cute and homosexuals should be able to marry. What is this madness?!

Following severe criticism, Iraqi eventually responded by tweeting: I support personal freedom as long as it does not harm anyone.