In connection with the incoming threats and given the pressure the organization Proud Lebanon canceled the conference, which was held yesterday at the hotel Monroe in Beirut, on the occasion of the world day of fight against homophobia and the oppression of the LGBT community.
“The Association of Muslim Ulema”, under the slogan of “prevention of Vice”, is to mobilize the “state” and use it as a force that itself has imposed its beliefs against a marginal part of society, allegedly violating the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
This conference is traditionally held every year. Its purpose is to support the rights of gays, lesbians and transgender people in Lebanon, to fight against the violence and discrimination practised against them, and also make a push in the direction of the society, which will respect the rights of people without discrimination. However, starting in the morning last Saturday, Proud Lebanon started to receive WhatsApp messages with threats that this conference should not take place. After these messages came a statement “of the Association of Muslim Ulema” with the loud name “the War of virtue of Vice”, which was warning about the consequences of holding this “public festival”, which “encourages the anomalies under the slogans of fight against homophobia”. The application was forwarded to the Minister of internal Affairs and the Secretary-General on security issues. They are expected to response to the request of the mufti of the Republic for the abolition of such activities, which were classified as illegal, due to the fact that “in fact, incitement to commit a crime is itself a crime and it is punishable by law.” Also, the religious authorities and the President was required to “find the culprits” and “to perform their duties, immediately putting an end to this persistence, which threatens the security of society, moral values, public health and device of Lebanese families”.
Instead, the state complied with its obligation to protect the conference and the freedom of Assembly, the Director of the organization Proud Lebanon Puerto MASCO a call from the hotel with a request to wait when an officer of the Lebanese army responsible for the security of the hotel (as the hotel belongs to the Lebanese army). Masko says: “I’ve been waiting all day. Officer has not contacted me, and in the evening I called the organizers to inform them that the event is cancelled for safety reasons because there is a threat of demonstrations in front of the hotel in conjunction with the conference, and the army can ensure the safety of the participants.” While MASCO notes that the conference will be held in this place for the third time in a row. During this conference had to be demonstrated by the organization report on gay communities in Lebanon, presented to the Committee against torture at the United Nations. The report demonstrates the cases of torture and suffering inflicted on some members of this community.
Failed conference “the Association of Muslim Ulema” was interpreted as “a victory for her and for all those who care about moral values.” They were able to impose their beliefs in the Lebanese Republic, which adheres to the civil Constitution, and all its citizens are equal before the law in exercising their freedoms. The President of the “Association of Muslim Ulema” Raed Khalil said that he “didn’t call the hotel, but called the mufti of the Lebanese Republic and the Minister of internal Affairs and public security, whose job is to stop the activity incompatible with the Sharia, contrary to the law and calling for homosexuality. It is condemned by law.” Sheikh Khalil was indignant charges of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and legislation on human rights, noting: “what we have done is consistent with our beliefs. I obey only God and not the law of human rights. This is a sick practice and they have no place in our society.”
There is no doubt that the incident constitutes a flagrant violation of freedom of sexual choice, which is an inalienable human right. If the position of the “Association of Muslim Ulema” to combat homosexuality was expected, the Lebanese state should be the guarantor of the Constitution. The basic law of the country, firstly, all citizens were guaranteed freedom of worship and practice of religious rites for all ethnic groups. Second, the state is responsible for the safety of all its citizens. Thirdly, it is obliged to apply international law in their legal practice.
Security forces are justified, that went on about the desires of religious groups and canceled the conference, according to the Department of public safety. In response to the fact that the conference is held in a special, and not in a public place and does not require a permit to conduct, on the part of Management was made: “We gave you the answer, justifying our actions. More nothing to add”. On the other hand, sources in the interior Ministry indicate that the issue of social security came only after a call from the mufti of the Republic. Proud Lebanon was in 2014 and operates in accordance with applicable law. Al Akhbar tried to contact the hotel but there prefer not to answer, saying that the administration is not working on Sunday and hooked us up with one of the managers.