A documentary about” honor crimes” towards LGBT people, with roots in the MENA region, was recently shown in Sweden. The director chose to expose a gay guy and a lesbian from families that where Muslims and Arabs.
The film got criticized, of some organizations, being too simple in its way of portraying. That the honor tradition goes beyond religion and ethnicity. And during the PR of the film the director of the film Oscar Hedin claimed that in Arabic” There is no word for homosexuality. It is unmentionable.”
For me being an Arabic student this an insult, not only to the language, but to the people in the region that work with activism of some sort or just are simply out and proud. I know the use of “al-mithlia al-jinsia” is not a consensus in the Arabic society but its there and it exist. And the debate that followed in the gay media proved again the non existing knowledge about the MENA region and LGBT.
For me not only studying the language but researching the queer societies in this region, is it important to highlight what is going on here when it comes to LGBT activism. It is important for LGBT people in Sweden with roots from the MENA region, to know that things are happening and activism and dialogs between groups of the society are made.
Now to the subject.
I have translated some of the debate articles that were during the films screening on National TV in Sweden. And I want you that are from, or that have connection to the MENA region to read and comment on them, this is important for me and my research and hopefully important information will be made for the LGBT community in Sweden. Its not the best quality of translation, but I hope you can get the core of what is discussed here.
Peace out A of Arabia
The participants in the debate where.
Philip Wendahl: From the Liberal Party
Borje Westlund: From the Social Democrat Party
The Arabic Initiative: An Arabic LGBT Organization
Felix Konig: From the National Gay Organization RFSL
Cherin and Joseph Wijk: Cherin was part of the movie and Joseph has experiences of honour crime
Jon Voss: Chief Editor of the Swedish Gay Magazine QX
Lars Torstensson: From the Humanists
Peter Zachrisson: Theology student
Sara Muhammad: Member of the organization” Never Forget Pela and Fadime”. Pela and Fadime was two Kurdish girls from Sweden, that got killed in the name of honor. And their names are frequent in the debate.
Mostafa Rashdi: From the organization” The child First”
HBTQ is the Swedish LGBT. al-dimoqratiin al-soweid is a Swedish extreme right party that target Muslims and Arabs. al-Islam Hugger is a Swedish word for a non Muslim that wants to”defend” Islam.
Cruiser is an internet forum for LGBT. ”Islam al-kloor” means within the claws of Islam.