afrol News, 5 May - Homosexuality is becoming an issue in the upcoming Egyptian elections, with the Muslim Brotherhood already being accused of spreading homophobia to win votes.
The Muslim Brotherhood is "using homophobia and xenophobia to attract people's votes like they did before during the constitutional referendum and influenced people to vote 'yes'," according to Jennifer Josef from the international gay rights organisation ILGA.
At a recent rally attended by about 25,000 people in Tanta, north of Cairo, Mohammed Badie, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood was reported to state that "it is not permissible for democracy to allow what is forbidden (haram) or forbid what is allowed (halal) even if the entire nation agreed to it."
Mr Badie stressed that "the West has allowed gay marriage under the pretext of democracy, which we will never allow in Egypt, and we will not allow under the pretext of national unity that a Muslim woman would get married to a Christian man which violates the Islamic law."
Ms Josef also recalls that Essam Elarian - who recently was elected Vice-President of the brotherhood's new political party called "The Freedom and Justice Party" - earlier had made homophobic statements.
In a recent interview to the 'Guardian', Mr Elarian had tried to give a modern and democratic image, praising the universal value of human rights. But Mr Elarian "specifically excluded gay rights" in the interview, Ms Joseph points out.
"Although the Brotherhood appears to have firmly embraced democracy, the means for reconciling that with its religious principles are not entirely clear: the issue of God's sovereignty versus people's sovereignty looks to have been fudged rather than resolved, and this is most apparent for women, non-Muslims and minorities, including Egypt's [lesbian and gay] community," Ms Joseph warns.
The Muslim Brotherhood campaigned "Islam is the solution" during parliamentary elections a few of years ago. Today, it says it will contest half of the seats in the country's parliamentary elections in September, revealing plans to become a major force in the country's post-revolution politics.
For this end it has founded "The Freedom and Justice Party", and appointed its new leaders in a press conference last Saturday.
"This is not a religious or a theocratic party," claimed Mahmoud Morsi, the party's newly appointed leader. He described the platform of the Freedom and Justice Party as civil but with an Islamic background that adheres to the constitution.
Brotherhood leaders added that the new political party will be separate and independent from the religious group.
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