Gays in the Middle East: Can they be happy?

Published May 30th, 2013 - 15:39 GMT

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Some Muslims say they feel trapped
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Image 1 of 7: A 28-year-old Palestinian man who went by the alias of “Yehya” told the press he thanks “God that my family and friends know nothing about my homosexuality, and I prefer things to stay the way they are.” Many Palestinians view homosexuality as sinful or unnatural.

Jerusalem Jew offers money to kill Palestinians
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Image 1 of 7: In 1997, 40-year-old Yaacov Teitel publicly pledged a $5,000 reward to anyone that would kill a gay man or woman. The Israeli native added that killing homosexuals would be “ridding the earth of this Sodom and Gomorrah.” The Jewish extremist is currently serving two life sentence for the murder of two Palestinian men.

Rehana Kausar, 34 and Sobia Kamar, 29 tie the knot in a lesbian marriage
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Image 1 of 7: Two Pakistani women are believed to be the first Muslims to tie the knot in the UK. The duo held their ceremony on May 25 and made an international splash in doing so. “This country allows us rights and it’s a very personal decision that we have taken. It’s no one’s business as to what we do with our personal lives,” one bride said.

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Image 1 of 7: In November of 2012, an openly gay Algerian man said he was planning to open the first “gay mosques” in France within a month. He said his initial goals were to have an open place for worship and, eventually, a place to hold same-sex Muslim marriages. Right now, there’s been no official word on whether Zahed’s plans have come to fruition.

Abdullah plans to open a gay mosque
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Image 1 of 7: American imam Daayiee Abdullah has been quietly marrying gay Muslims and hiding their union from respecting families, earning him massive respect from the local Muslim gay community. Still, many Islamists are not happy with his actions. Abdullah said he has been called “twisted and perverted.”

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Image 1 of 7: Arab governments are quick to crack down on homosexuality, with many countries employing the death penalty against convicted homosexuals. Despite this, gay Kenyan men are being trafficked into the Gulf as sex slaves for the wealthy. In some instances, victims are promised jobs in the Middle East but end up suffering sexual abuse.

gay Lebanon
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Image 1 of 7: Following the shutdown of a gay-friendly nightclub in a suburban town outside Beirut, the Lebanese mayor of Dekwaneh went on to defend his actions. “I saw 25 men outside, or what looked like boys and men. I went inside ... These homosexual acts that are happening ... are scandalous sexual acts,” the mayor said.

From an Israeli native offering $5,000 for each homosexual killed to a man planning on building a gay mosque in France, news of gays standing up for themselves both in the Middle East region and out seems to be on the rise.

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