Gay Algeria News & Reports

Also See:
Islam and Homosexuality on
Unspeakable Love by Brian Whittaker
Gay Travels in the Muslim World by Michael Luongo
Islam and Homosexuality by Samar Habib

Film about French -Algerian student
Film ‘Wild Reeds’ about gay-theme French-A
lgerian love
Gay and Lesbian Arabs website
Gay and Lesbian Arab Society-Ahbab

1 Algerian imams join in the fight against AIDS 7/07

2 Home Office loses gay Algerian deportation case 10/07

3 Specialists warn against decline of Algerian family values 7/08
(non-gay background story)

4 Internet Offers Romance to Maghreb–Including Lesbians 8/08

5 Algerian writer wins Pan-African literary prize 7/09
(non-gay background story)

6 Algeria: Two-year jail sentence for gay imam 4/10

6a Transsexual’s memoirs breaks new ground in Arab world 7/10

6b Abu Nawas Group Announces Act Openly Against Homophobia 9/10

7 Touareg festivals, scenery draw tourists to Algerian desert 12/10
(non-gay background story)

8 Algerian students ignore HIV/AIDS risk, study finds 2/11

9 Coming Out à l’oriental 7/11

10 Circumcision during Ramadan carries risks 8/11

11 The National Day of the Algerian LGBTQI 10/11

1 – Algerian imams join in the fight against AIDS

04 July 2007 – Magharebia

Until now, few in Algeria have been inclined to engage the religious community in raising awareness of the dangers of AIDS. Religious Algerians have made the decision to participate more actively to curb the spread of this dangerous disease.

By Mohand Ouali for Magharebia in Algiers – 04/07/2007

In a departure from tradition, religious communities in Algeria have become increasingly involved in AIDS education in the country. To this end, the Ministry of Religious Affairs organised a seminar on Monday (July 2nd) in Algiers, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the role of religious leaders in the fight against AIDS.

Eighty imams representing 12 Arab countries, as well as Orthodox Christians, participated in this meeting, overseen by the Chahama Institution, a network regrouping religious organisations in Arab regions involved in the fight against AIDS. This network held a first meeting in Egypt and a second in Algeria, with the objective to identify religious figures willing to fight against AIDS. These meetings have had participation from not only men of worship, but also sociologists, doctors and psychologists. Minister of Religious Affairs Bouabdellah Ghlamallah outlined, in a message to the audience, the important role that mosques have to take in terms of raising awareness of this disease. “The 20,000 mosques that unite thousands of believers each Friday in Algeria have a social duty, and must therefore get involved in raising public awareness, as was done with the threat of avian influenza or during the World Day for the Fight against AIDS,” Ghlamallah said in his message. He added that “AIDS is not a taboo subject in the mosque,” and refuted the view of certain preachers who describe the disease as “divine punishment”, indicating that the imams and morchidate (female clerics similar to imams) are coming together in “re-education centres” (prisons) to lead awareness campaigns regarding prevention of the disease.

Mohamed Laribi, Director of Research and head of the AIDS awareness project at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, told the press that “religious discourse is more persuasive and will therefore be more effective in the fight against AIDS”. The Director of Religious Orientation at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Mohamed Aissa, said it is necessary that “religious discourse be constantly updated” for maximum impact. He said AIDS victims should not be blamed for their illness, and called on parents to provide their children with sexual education.

The local representative of the UNDP in Algiers, Marc Destanne de Bernis, said the priority of the Chahama Institution is “to reinforce the capacities of religious leaders to drive the fight against AIDS by using more modern training methods”. Regarding religious leaders, he said that they have “the ability to dispel fears and misunderstandings, and to promote compassion, solidarity and respect in their place”. Egyptian Representative of the Ministry of the Wakfs, Hussain Khidr, gave a speech calling for compassion towards AIDS sufferers, while Father Sourour, representing Pope Chenouda III of Egypt’s Coptic church, called for “doubling efforts to fight this curse and for accepting AIDS victims living among us without discrimination”.

2 – Home Office loses gay Algerian deportation case

24th October 2007 – PinkNews

by writer
The High Court in London has overturned an order that a gay man from Algeria seeking asylum in the UK should be repatriated.
The Home Office had argued the 27-year-old man, referred to as B, would be safe from persecution as long as he was “discreet” about his homosexuality. However Mr Justice Collins disagreed, saying that B, who has been fighting to remain in the UK since 1996, was at risk of persecution.

The ruling has infuriated the tabloid press, with The Sun reporting that: “A failed (sic) asylum seeker had his deportation halted yesterday – because he is too camp to go home.” The judge stressed that this case was exceptional, and that he was satisfied that B is gay and would not be able to conceal his sexuality.

A medical report backed the assertion that he would not be able to reintegrate into Algerian society. Allegations that B had over-emphasised his sexuality to stop his deportation were rejected by Mr Justice Collins. “It may be, when the matter is investigated and tested, that conclusion could be drawn, although it is highly unlikely in the light of the evidence so far produced,” he said, according to PA.

The Home Secretary will now have to reconsider his case.

Sodomy and “outraging public decency” are both offences in Algeria and carry a prison sentence or a fine. Gay activist group OutRage! has previously claimed there is a “serious danger” of an openly gay man such as B being murdered by Islamic fundamentalists if returned to Algeria. B testified that he would be in danger from such groups.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that homosexuality was tolerated in Algeria “as long as it is not expressed explicitly in public.” There is an active, if discreet, gay scene in major centres of population such as Algiers.

3 – Specialists warn against decline of Algerian family values

02 July 08 –

Sociologists and officials came together on June 28th-29th to discuss the erosion of traditional Algerian values and its impact on youth and family structures. Widespread social problems like unemployment and the influence of foreign media were identified as causes.

by Said Jameh for Magharebia in Algiers
Algerian specialists issued a warning recently against what they call a “growing phenomenon of family disunity” in light of changes witnessed by Algerian society. Social and ethical values are receding, they say, because families are becoming less involved in raising their children. Experts sounded the alarm after a University of Algiers Centre for Prevention and Ergonomics study was released at last week’s conference, “Family and Upbringing: between Communication and Alienation”. The results showed that social and ethical values, previously common among families and society, have receded since the decline of the role played by families in the upbringing and guidance of youths. According to the study, the most prominent sign of the family’s decreased role in children’s upbringing is indifference towards social problems such as drugs, theft, and violence in schools and public areas.

This attitude of indifference, “which is foreign to Algerian society”, can be attributed to a number of reasons, such as “economic and social pressures weighing down on families”, in addition to “the negative direction of certain media that choose to focus on the commercial aspects of social problems, and exaggerate them, instead of seeking to serve the family and promote its unity”. In this context, Hamou Boudrifa, head of the Centre for Prevention and Ergonomics, called on educational institutions, specialised agencies, families and mosques to stand in the face of attitudes foreign to society and diligently seek to restore respect for social and ethical values.

Nouara Djaafar, Deputy Minister for Family and Women’s Issues, agreed with the researchers, noting during the conference that “the cause of family disunity and the spread of various negative phenomena can be traced back to the malfunction of the family in society”. “Families nowadays are concerned with securing means of living for their young ones, instead of paying attention to their education,” she added, noting the increase in recent years of the number of Algerian mothers who work, leaving their children in day care centres or with relatives. This number has increased from 10% to 17% over the past decade; a change that has, according to the Minister, impacted children’s sense of belonging in their families. “Parents have become withdrawn,” she continued. “Cultural and ethical examples are faint. The impact of mass media and modern technologies on families and how they undertake their jobs is substantial.”

Sociologists echoed many of these opinions during the conference. Mohamed Boumekhelouf , Professor of sociology at the University of Algiers, said social problems are most to blame for problems in the development of the Algerian family. He added that children in more than 15% of families do not work, constituting an additional burden. In their closing statement, conference participants recommended the launch of television networks specialising in family, children and youth affairs, emphasising the role of domestic and regional media, as well as that of mosques and schools.

The latest demographic statistics in Algeria denote that the birth rate has dropped to 1.72%, compared to 2.70% in 1994. Marriage rates also declined from 33.5% for men and 29.9% for women in 1998, reaching 31.3% for men and 27.6% for women, according to the latest stats revealed last June. This decline is attributed to the high cost of living, limited resources and housing problems.

4 – Internet Chat Rooms Offer Romance to Maghreb Residents–Including Lesbians

August 1, 2008 – Magharebia News

The Maghreb region has embraced the trend of meeting strangers in chat rooms and finding a venue for self-expression, even on taboo subjects, in cyber-space.

by Jamel Arfaoui for Magharebia in Tunis
Chat and dating websites like Ab Coeur entice people of all ages to converse openly, despite sometimes strict social taboos. For many people in the Maghreb, the internet has gone from a forum for discussing politics to a place where emotions kept hidden in public can be freely expressed.
In a society still bound by traditions and redlined by religion, people of all ages and social classes prefer to hide their deepest thoughts behind solid computer screens. With a plethora of “virtual clubs” springing up online, cyberspace is the new meeting place for finding a friend or, for some lucky ones, a perfect romantic partner.

Meryam, who is over 30 years old and still single, said the internet helped her achieve her long-desired goal of getting to know the opposite sex “without embarrassment or any obligations”. “I’m free to speak to whoever I want and to reject whoever I want,” she said. “The environment in which I grew up is conservative and rejects social intercourse between men and women. I had no other option but to secretly log into these virtual clubs where the two sexes can meet.”

One website drawing more visitors every day is Ab Coeur. It is becoming increasingly popular among the young. According to the owners of the website, the number of subscribers is currently about 300,000, made up mostly of Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans. The French also have a notable presence on the site. Subscribers range from 18 to 90 years old. One-third of them are women. Ab Coeur subscriber Mourad ben Saad, a young man in his twenties, said he spends more than 5 hours a day on his computer, either surfing or chatting on the website. “I have become addicted to speaking with girls whom I don’t know,” he said. “We speak about everything… without any taboos.” Mourad’s internet girlfriends are of different ages, locations and backgrounds. He has also encountered married women, as well as men who wanted to have relations with him. “What surprised me most is that they spoke frankly with me about their sexual inclinations,” he told Magharebia, “including sexual preferences that no one would dare to speak about away from the computer screen”.

Journalist Mokhtar Tlili has been monitoring the website since it was launched five years ago. “You find the real images of the Arab and Islamic societies,” he said. “You discover people who speak absolutely honestly about issues that are not only rejected in our countries, but also religiously and morally banned; issues that family and friends refuse to accept.” Tlili thinks that the internet has forever changed the rules for social contact in the region. “After 14 centuries of a male-dominated system that doesn’t allow any discussion of emotional and sexual issues, the web came to destroy all the taboos and forbidden issues. Our young people are now able to find a confession stand on the web, through which they express all their passionate dreams, as well as their concerns and questions, without fear,” Tlili explained. “The web has given the young people of our region an unparalleled opportunity to escape from a reality that judges natural emotional relations on a scale of halal and haram.”

He also suggests that speaking so freely about emotional matters may relieve some young people from psychological pressures which can lead to violence: “After someone spends his/her night speaking about love and agitated passions, this will make them more balanced the following morning when they walk in the streets.”

[Jamel Arfaoui] For many young people, meeting online is easier than arranging to spend time in person. But this virtual freedom does not come without a need for online anonymity. Fake names and fictionalised biographies are common among the Tunisians who frequent these sites. Some use entertainers’ names such as “Jennifer Lopez” or “Monica Bellucci.” Others prefer to go political and choose to be called “Obama” or “Kennedy”. Subscribers offer a hint about their personality with usernames such as lalatek (your lady), mughamer” (adventurer), aabera (female passer-by) or haera (bewildered woman). Devout Muslims have also joined the trend. Religious net surfers, such as the Moroccan teacher who introduced himself as “Muslim” or the Tunisian woman with the moniker “mohajaba” (veiled woman), do not hesitate to ask that their partner be devout as well. Men outnumber women 4-1 in chat rooms. Most are in their thirties or forties.

No one seems embarrassed to talk about their sexual preferences, even married men and women looking for casual relationships or girls looking for intimacy with other girls. “All males, with all due respect, please don’t try to contact me,” one female user writes on her page. Another post says, “I will reject all men. Therefore, they shouldn’t try to contact me and waste my time.” During the week, especially in the morning hours, older people dominate the site. Most of them access the internet from work. It is another story on the weekends, however, when young people make web traffic spike. In “a world where there is no time for meeting or getting to know other people”, said Tunisian social worker Mongi Saidani, the younger generation is comfortable pursuing online rendezvous. “Unlike the reality they live in,” he said, in the cyber-world, “young men are not required to propose or bear the consequent financial obligations”.

The web “protects them against everything, including the taboos that are still prevalent in Arab society,”
Saidani added. Although we are in the 21st century, he noted, speaking about sex is still off-limits in Tunisia and across the Maghreb. Online, he told Magharebia, behind the safety of the computer screen, anything is possible and everyone has a voice.
According to statistics released this year by the Arab League, the percentage of internet penetration is 14.36% in Morocco, 5.62% in Libya, 5.33% in Algeria, 3.46% in Tunisia and 0.47% in Mauritania.

5 – Algerian writer wins Pan-African literary prize

2009 July 16 – Magharebia

Algerian writer Rachid Boudjedra received a new continent-wide literary prize at a ceremony held in Algiers on Wednesday (July 15th). Ivory Coast’s Tanela Bonni and Senegal’s Nafissatou Dia Diouf received the other two awards. Algerian Culture Minister Khalida presented the prizes at a Pan-African Cultural Festival writers’ symposium.

April 13, 2010 – LGBT Asylum News

Algeria: Two-year jail sentence for gay imam

Source: L’expression

by Kamel Boudjadi
(Google translation) The judge at the court of the city of Tizi Ouzou made yesterday in the afternoon, his verdict on the imam of the Al Attik charged with homosexuality. Caught in flagrante delicto in the mosque, Imam, aged 36, was sentenced to a term of two years and 20,000 dinars, while his companion was sentenced to the same penalty.

The facts date back, in fact, in February when the faithful have warned the police about acts of Imam caught. He will be detained and interrogated by the prosecutor and then placed in custody. Yesterday, the prosecution had sought against him a sentence of ten years.

Deux ans de prison pour l’imam homosexuel
Le juge près le tribunal de la ville de Tizi Ouzou a rendu, hier dans l’après-midi, son verdict au sujet de l’imam de la mosquée Al Attik inculpé pour homosexualité. Pris en flagrant délit au sein de la mosquée, l’imam âgé de 36 ans, a écopé d’une peine de deux ans et de 20.000 dinars d’amende, alors que son compagnon a été condamné à la même sanction. Les faits remontent, en fait, au mois de février lorsque des fidèles ont averti la police sur les actes de l’imam pris en flagrant délit. Il sera écroué et entendu par le procureur puis placé sous mandat de dépôt. Hier, le parquet avait requis contre lui une peine de dix ans.

16 July 2010 – LGBT Asylum News

Transsexual’s memoirs breaks new ground in Arab world

by Natacha Yazbeck (AFP)
In a daring, unprecedented move, a pioneer of the Arab world’s underground transgender movement has released her memoirs, recounting her struggle to become a woman against all odds. “Mouzakarat Randa al-Trans”, or “The Memoirs of Randa the Trans“, is a brutally honest narrative that traces Randa’s battles with family, society, country,
religion and abuse in her native Algeria.

Co-authored by Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghieh, the 144-page book released this year in Beirut unflinchingly details Randa’s life from childhood as a male to her first sexual experience with a man and the consequences of her choice to live as a male-to-female transsexual. “At some point I put two bottles of pills on my dresser and knew that I had a choice,” Randa, who was named Fuad at birth, told AFP in Beirut. “I could either die now by taking the entire vial of medication, or start on the vial of hormones and live — as a woman and with the possibility that I might die at the hands of someone else.”

Long-running death threats last year forced her to leave her homeland and, with an expired European visa and friends in nearby Lebanon, Beirut seemed the obvious choice. “I had been receiving threats for some time,” she said. “General security in Algeria had built a file on me, and I had been ‘warned’ by certain Islamist groups. Last April, I was given a 10-day ultimatum: leave or be killed.”

Thin and soft-spoken with long dark hair, Randa today lives as a woman in Beirut where she is preparing to complete the surgical process that will transform her into a female. While Lebanese law technically criminalizes same-sex relationships, it makes no mention of sex reassignment surgery. And although patriarchal values still hold sway over this small eastern Mediterranean country, Beirut’s relatively tolerant society and the stellar reputation of Lebanese doctors have encouraged persons of different sexual orientations and identities to seek refuge in the vibrant city.

“People ask you why anyone would give up the privileges men have to be ranked even worse than women who were born as women,” Randa said. “We need to make people understand that the word transsexual is not about sex and it’s not about pleasure,” she added. “It’s about identity.” Noel Nakhoul, a counselor who works with people questioning their sexual identity, says that while there are no reliable studies, Lebanon is the most popular country for marginalised communities in the Arab world.

“Generally they feel that it is a more democratic country, at least socially,” Nakhoul told AFP. “It’s known for its multiplicity, especially when the other choice is totalitarian countries like Iran.” While Iran punishes homosexual conduct with execution, sex change is permitted by religious edict in the Islamic republic, which is reputed to have the highest rate of sex reassignment surgeries after Thailand. Surgeon Antoine Eid estimates that one in 50,000 people in Lebanon has some degree of gender dysphoria syndrome, or discontent with their biological sex. “People are increasingly coming to Lebanon for these surgeries because the law does not forbid it and the medical sector is highly regarded,” Eid, who had no available statistics, told AFP.

“But we are very selective in who is a candidate for surgery, and psychiatric consultation for at least one year is a must before the decision is made.” And in the tightly knit societies of the Arab world, Eid insists his patients secure their families’ support before embarking on the long, painful process. But for Randa — who laughingly refuses to disclose her age but concedes she is “30-something” — family approval was out of the question.

“Even today, I cannot tell you how many times I want to call my sisters, but I always dial the number and hang up before it rings. I would ruin their lives,” she said, fighting back tears. “I lost everything. I have nothing more to lose. “What have I got to lose if society rejects me?” Lebanon is home to the Arab world’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group HELEM, and a number of gay and gay-friendly bars have flourished in the capital.

HELEM now regularly hosts events on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), but while Beirut is more liberal than its neighbours in the largely conservative Middle East, it remains far from a tolerant city. Even so, the brutal beating by police of two men for alleged gay behaviour last year did not deter HELEM supporters from taking to the streets to mark IDAHO this May, carrying banners that read “Ana shazz,” or “I am queer,” and “Barra!” or “Out!” Through HELEM, Randa said she is fighting to raise public awareness about and acceptance of transsexual persons.

“Sometimes I want to give up and leave, but I know that if I leave, I’ll be back,” she said. “Freedom is never given to you,” she added. “You have to reach out and take it, sometimes no matter the risks. And we can’t stop fighting now.”

16 September 2010 – GME

Abu Nawas Group Announces It Will Come Out And Act Openly Against Homophobia In Algeria!

A date was born-again, 10th October self proclaimed as national day for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (L.G.B.T) in Algeria. The Selim I, alias Salim the terrible, who was born on October 10th, 1470, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the successor of the Muslims and the first dubbed the Commander of the Faithful of the Ottoman Caliphs, He said: “I, who shake under my feet the lions of Europe, become a lamb a depositary near the beardless youth with the oryx eyes”.

October 10, we chose this date for its historical and religious symbolism to demonstrate to our opponents who accuse us of mimicry of the West that we belong to the Arab-Muslim world. So we are more determined than ever to fight for our rights and to repeal the laws criminalizing homosexuality. For all these reasons we decide to fight, and say No!

The TenTen 2010 takes for the first time the slogan “Hope!”, it aims to light candles at 8:00 pm no matter what the participants gender or sexual orientation are. The event may appear simple but it is a symbol of solidarity with Algerian LGBT who through lighting candles at the same time in different cities in Algeria and around the world, break their sense of isolation and give themselves a glimpse of hope for their community.

French and Arabic

2010 December 30 – Magharebia

Touareg festivals, scenery draw tourists to Algerian desert

With many Algerian hotels filled to capacity for the winter holiday season, adventurous tourists are seizing the opportunity to go further afield and spend their vacations in one of the world’s largest deserts. The desert plains of Hoggar and Tassili, each as large as France and offering visitors dramatic lunar landscapes, cave engravings and vast open spaces, are wildly popular destinations for the end-of-year holidays. Djanet, a small oasis town in the Tassili plateau some 1,800 kilometres from Algiers, is swarming with people preparing for Sbiba. The celebration of reconciliation between Touareg tribes attracts both Algerians and tourists, who appear overwhelmed by the beauty of the spectacle and the rich history of the region.

Despite being a top attraction for holiday-makers, the town has little to offer in the way of accommodation: just a hotel with around thirty rooms and a touristic village at the town entrance, with bungalows built in the local architectural style. “It’s a problem,” admits Moussa Ag Moulay, manager of a travel agency in Djanet. Then again, most tourists don’t stay in the town. “They go off to explore the big open spaces and see the cave engravings, and mostly stay at temporary campsites,” he tells Magharebia. “They love it.”

This year, bad news spoiled the holiday season. For security reasons – namely, the kidnappings and other threats posed by terrorists along the main desert roads – the government closed the Hoggar and Tassili nature parks to tourists. The decision resulted in booking cancellations from 50,000 foreign tourists who were due to spend their end-of-year holidays here, says Cherif Menacer, vice-president of the National Union of Travel Agencies (SNAV). But many other visitors were already here when the decision came down. They express frustration over not being unable to “lose themselves in the desert and switch off from reality for a few days”. Joala, an Italian architect, visits Djanet regularly. She’s making the best of it, despite the travel restrictions.

Read complete article

2011 February 10 – Magharebia

Algerian students ignore HIV/AIDS risk, study finds

by Hayam El Hadi for Magharebia in Algiers
Algerian university students engage in risky sexual activities but understand little about HIV/AIDS transmission, a new national survey found.
There was “a mismatch between the young people’s knowledge and their behaviour regarding this menacing illness, meaning there are areas of ignorance about transmission and the prevention of infection,” according to study author Toudeft Fadela of Tizi-Ouzou University Hospital. The study, presented January 24th at Algeria’s National Institute for Public Health, yielded surprising results. From a sample of nearly 1,800 university students of both sexes, just 2.9% were aware of all the ways in which the HIV/AIDS virus can be transmitted.

The investigation was part of a project by the Association of Information on Drugs and AIDS (AID-Algerie) to promote AIDS awareness and support voluntary free screening. According to the health ministry, Algeria has between 21,000 and 30,000 people living with AIDS. “At my age, I haven’t yet reached a level of maturity which would encourage me to remain faithful to just one woman,” said Said Dahou, a 22-year-old sociology student. “It’s fair to say that I get my kicks wherever and whenever I want. I don’t really remember all the girls I’ve had sex with, and I don’t use condoms as a matter of course.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m stupid,” he continued. “I know the dangers of AIDS, but I have to admit that in the heat of the action I don’t think about it.” The study showed that 70% of undergraduates admitted to having casual sex in the last 12 months. Only 42% said they used a condom, despite the fact 88.4% of students questioned said they understood the severity of the possible infection. Young men have a greater tendency to protect themselves than young women. The experts who conducted the investigation warned of the rising rates of HIV/AIDS among women in Algeria.

The survey also showed that the age at which people first engage in intercourse is dropping, with 11% of students reporting their first sexual experience before age 15. “At 17, I had sex for the first time with my high school boyfriend,” Nadia Amrouche, 24, told Magharebia. “This is a taboo subject for us, but girls are liberated these days. They have experiences outside of marriage, but it’s true that the issue of protection from AIDS doesn’t necessarily figure among our priorities. Boys aren’t always very co-operative, and girls often don’t dare to ask their partners to use a condom.”

“The findings of the survey are stark. It’s clear that there has been no follow-up to assess the impact of the different awareness campaigns conducted among young people,” AIDS Association President Athmane Bourouba said.

Bourouba suggested addressing young people not only through traditional channels, but also using modern methods such as social networks. “We need to ask ourselves some questions and adjust our actions. There’s a flagrant lack of co-ordination, a lack of strategic information, a lack of finance for projects and a lack of technical support for awareness-raising campaigns,” he added.

2011 July –

Coming Out à l’oriental: Maghrebi-French Performances of Gender, Sexuality, and Religion.

by Provencher DM. – a Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication , The University of Maryland Baltimore County , Baltimore , Maryland , USA.

In this article, I examine issues of gender, sexuality, and religion for North African (Maghrebi)-French men in contemporary France. I introduce performance artist-photographer “2Fik,” one of the Maghrebi-French research subjects from my 2010 fieldwork, and examine excerpts of his particular coming out story to his parents and situate it in relation to recent work on homosexuality in the housing projects of France’s banlieues [suburban neighborhoods] ( Chaumont, 2009 ; Naït-Balk, 2009 ). The interviewee’s narrative interweaves a variety of discourses and imagery that help distinguish his experience from those found in those publications as well as in recent scholarship on sexuality, citizenship, and transnationalism ( Cruz-Malavé & Manalansan, 2000 ; Hayes, 2000 ; Leap & Boellstorff, 2004 ; Patton & Sánchez-Eppler, 2000 ; Provencher, 2007a ).

I argue that 2Fik’s story and photography provide him a unique voice that draws on feminist and queer perspectives-informed by both reformed Islam and contemporary Western values-to “decline” ( Rosello, 1998 ) and rewrite longstanding stereotypes of Islam in France. In fact, by acting as a “citizen-photographer” ( Möller, 2010 ), 2Fik successfully declines stereotypes including the absent Muslim father, the veiled woman, and the symbolic violence associated with heteronormativity and traditional masculinity in Maghrebi-French families.

2011 August 28 – Magharebia

Circumcision during Ramadan carries risks

By Mohand Ouali for Magharebia in Algiers
In Algeria, Ramadan is a popular time to have boys circumcised. But the delicate operation can result in accidents or injuries to children if performed by inadequately trained medical staff. Although circumcisions can be performed at any time of the year, many Algerians choose to have their children circumcised during Ramadan, especially on the 27th day of the month, which has particular religious significance (Laylat al-Qadr or the Night of Destiny). Many organisations, public institutions and companies arrange collective circumcision ceremonies during the holy month as a gesture of support for families. However, when collective operations are performed at improperly equipped facilities, injuries often result.

“There are nurses, general practitioners and even paediatricians who carry out these operations despite having no right to do so,” said Dr Mourad Zaoui, who works at a hospital in Kolea, Blida province. “This is a surgical procedure that should be performed by a surgeon.” He explained that bleeding, infections and injuries resulting from surgical mishaps are the most common problems. “I witnessed the death of a child from post-circumcision bleeding,” he said, adding that in other cases, damage caused by botched circumcisions can be repaired. “In most cases, the child will certainly experience psychological trauma, but that is all.”

“There are still some areas where there is no oversight, and this increases the risk of accidents,” Dr Zaoui said. He also noted that there are no national statistics indicating the frequency of mishaps. “Yes, accidents are frequent when circumcisions are performed. For instance, two boys were maimed when they were circumcised in mid-July in the town of Tenes,” a medical source told Magharebia.

Another doctor in the town said that one child was maimed during a collective circumcision ceremony held by a charity last year. The child, who was later found to suffer from haemophilia, was circumcised by a nurse and was hospitalised due to bleeding. The nurse was suspended and legal proceedings filed against him. The Algerian health ministry has taken steps in recent years to reduce the risk of injury, including issuing new safety recommendations for doctors.

The Social Action Department (DAS) in Algiers announced August 1st that it would offer circumcisions to a thousand boys during the holy month in partnership with the health ministry. In Constantine, Abdelkader Nouar, the secretary-general of the Souboul el Kheirat office with the religious affairs ministry, has announced that around 500 boys from needy families will be circumcised during Ramadan. This gesture of solidarity will end on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Nouar mosque committees have received numerous requests for circumcisions from impoverished families who cannot afford to pay private doctors for the procedure, which usually costs around 4,500 dinars (43 euros).

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October 2011 – Abu Mawas

The National Day of the Algerian LGBTQI

We consider the 10th of October a very important date in Algeria since four years, it honours the national anniversary that stands for defending and legitimizing LGBTIQ rights, this is why “Abu Nawas” association is working to seek recognition of those rights. Abu Nawas is faithful to that date and we present it each year for this unique struggle of rights. Our dream is to have the Algerian society to legitimize our existence and our equal rights, but our current reality faces the two penalty articles 333 & 338 of the Algerian Penal and Criminal law, that criminalize homosexuality and all acts that are relevant to it. This year, like every year, we are celebrating for the 5th time on a row our national day for LGBTIQ rights as a decision of an actual manifestation to our hopes to confirm our existence and self determination. It is the right of each person to live hisher differences and orientations and with total freedom.

Our last year slogan was “Hope”, which enhanced our will and made us insist more to hold on to our common belief that it is just and legitimate right of ours. There is no way that we continue to work in a scattered and sporadic way, therefore “movement” is a necessary duty and unity to our voices, so those ears that reused to listen to us in the past can be open to listen to us now. Today, “Abu Nawas” association calls for solidarity under the slogan: Together To Make Life Better, this step goes along with the logic of the revolutions in the Arab World and inspired by the needed support from the Maghreb movements defending the LGBTIQ that we work with and cooperate closely with “Khomsa” network to collaborate in the desired goals.

Like every year, we are asking you and each person to do a symbolic gesture that shows hisher belief, hisher belonging and support to our struggle. Light a candle on Monday October tenth around eight in the evening, to be the light for all those who suffered in the past or are still suffering this moment because of hisher difference. The dim light of the candle will be the equivalent to the ray of hope that everyone of us carry in the depth of hisher entity either inside their homeland or outside, for all those who dream of and for freedom, to live their difference with No discrimination or fear or even prejudice.

Let us light our illumination in 1010 under the slogan of – Together To Make Life Better!