Recently, the popular rock band from Beirut, Lebanon know as Mashrou’ Leil, held a concert in Egypt where 59 attendees were arrested for waving Rainbow Flags. A local human rights group, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, has reported that one minor and one woman have been arrested among 57 men. Egyptian authorities claim that these men had profiles on gay dating apps and have been charged with promoting or engaging in "debauchery."

LGBT pride flag

Two of the men who were arrested were also charged with being members of a banned group. Over the last four years, 232 people have been arrested in Egypt for being gay.

These arrests have been followed by massive anti-LGBT media coverage. Egyptian television hosts often report that being gay leads to other crimes such as illegal drug use, theft, and even murders. These are allegations are entirely unfounded and have no real merit.

Egyptian law does not specifically ban homosexuality. However, authorities often arrest LGBT people on the basis of "debauchery" or prostitution. As of now, none of the concert attendees who were arrested have been released yet.

Mashrou’ Leil

Mashrou’ Leil is a rock band from Beirut, Lebanon with an openly gay lead singer, Hamed Sinno. The band has strongly condemned the actions of Egyptian authorities. Sinno released a statement saying that if he had thought this was going to happen, the group might not have performed that night in Egypt.

The band has since called for an international human rights campaign against the Egyptian government. Local activists have advised the group to remain silent on the matter, but the band chose to speak out against hate. They described the arrests as "sickening." They went on to state that this was simply, "A couple of kids raising a piece of cloth that stands for love.”

Human rights

Local human rights activists have asked that the media refrain from using hate speech.

However, many media outlets have been stoking the fire by falsely claiming that LGBT people are dangerous to society. Reports such as these only further enrage conservative Egyptians and religious groups.

On Monday, ten of the men who were arrested at the concert were given prison sentences anywhere from two to six years. They have the option to appeal, but it will take some time. Two others have been acquitted, yet they are still in police custody. Authorities have banned Mashou’ Leila from performing in Egypt again.