Lebanon: homophobic attack on bar in Beirut condemned
Members of Jnoud El-Rab Christian group attacked people on the premises of the Madame Om bar, saying LGBTQ+ people were ‘satanic’
Lebanese politicians and religious leaders have recently made a string of homophobic remarks, including against the Barbie film
‘The situation of LGBTQ+ people is deteriorating in the country’ - Aya Majzoub
Amnesty International has condemned an attack on an LGBTQ+ bar in the Lebanese capital Beirut, saying it was an “ominous sign” in a country where leading political and religious figures have recently made a number of anti-LGBTQ+ remarks.
Videos of the attack on the Madame Om bar yesterday by people identifying themselves as members of the Jnoud El-Rab Christian group show the assailants destroying furniture outside the bar, beating up people who tried to leave the premises, and threatening the owner with more violence if they continued to “promote homosexuality”.
The attackers, who identified themselves as “Jnoud El-Rab” in the videos, also chanted homophobic slurs and said that LGBTQ+ people are “satanic” and have no place in Lebanon.
The owner of the bar told Amnesty that when members of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces arrived at the scene, they prevented the aggressors from entering the bar and aided some guests in their attempts to leave, but they did not stop the attack or arrest any of the assailants.
In recent weeks, several of Lebanon’s political and religious leaders have intensified their campaign against the LGBTQ+ community, with the head of a prominent political party calling for LGBTQ+ people to be killed, the culture minister attempting to ban the Barbie film on grounds that it “contradicted morals and values” and requesting that journalists use the term “sexual perversion” to describe homosexuality, and the education minister banning a boardgame in schools because it depicted a rainbow.
Aya Majzoub, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said:
“What happened at Madame Om last night offered an ominous sign of how the situation of LGBTQ+ people is deteriorating in the country.
“The Lebanese authorities must stop creating an environment conducive for discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
“The authorities must ensure that the attackers are held accountable and demonstrate that such acts have no place in a country invested in upholding human rights.
“The Government should ensure that everyone is protected from violence, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”