First Published: 2010-08-16

 

New Arabic online magazine to include gay writers

 

Online magazine in Israel to feature articles by gays and lesbians, may offend 'sensitivities'.

 

Middle East Online

Qadita.net

JERUSALEM - Arab and Palestinian writers and intellectuals on Monday launched a new online magazine in Israel that aims to challenge taboos, including by featuring articles by gays and lesbians.

"Our site will be like a cultural oasis to which a person can escape to read a short story or watch a cultural event via YouTube," said Alaa Hlehel, founder and editor of Qadita.net and an Arab citizen of Israel.

The site is named for his ancestral village, which was destroyed during the 1948 war that attended the creation of the Jewish state, but its target is the limits of free speech in Arab and Islamic societies.

"Rebellious or 'non-conservative' writing should not fall victim to erasure just because its dissemination angers some people or offends 'sensitivities,'" the website's founding statement says.

"We believe the margin of freedom in Arabic-language publishing is under siege, because of political and social tensions and various groups."

The site will publish contributions from a wide range of Arab and Palestinian writers and, in an historic first, will have a special section devoted to gay and lesbian writers, most of whom will write anonymously.

Homosexuality is highly frowned upon in Arab and Islamic society and is criminalised in many countries in the region.

"We are doing this to allow gays to speak out, to leave their ghetto and to become a natural part of Palestinian and Arab culture," Hlehel said.

When asked if he feared attacks by religious or extremist groups, Hlehel insisted that the quality of the writing would speak for itself.

"It will be easy to attack us over the issue of gays, but because of this we will ensure that all our writing is of the highest quality," he said.

Israel's Arab citizens make up around 20 percent of the population. They comprise the Palestinians who remained in the Jewish state after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that attended its creation and their descendants.

 

Turkey warns Syria against protecting Kurds

Two hardline Syria rebels announce merger

IS kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Sudan frees dozens of activists detained after protests

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Somalia appoints new police, intelligence chiefs

Iran plane crash rescue search halted for second night

France reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal

Abbas warms up to Moscow amid cold US-Palestinian ties

Israel strikes 'historic' gas contract with Egypt

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes after rocket attack

Iraq orders deportation of French jihadist

Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin

Three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai

Israeli, US officials meet over gas row with Lebanon

Iran's supreme leader says progress needed on justice

Syria Kurds claim striking positions in Turkey

Netanyahu warns Iran, brandishes piece of metal

66 feared dead as plane crashes in Iranian mountains

Saudi women to open businesses without male permission

Netanyahu slams 'outrageous' Holocaust remark by Polish PM

Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria

Thousands protest corruption in Tel Aviv amid PM indictment call

Prominent jihadist commander killed by rival Syria rebels

300 Russians killed in Syria battle last week

Tillerson, Erdogan have ‘productive, open’ talk

Iran raises rates, freezes accounts in bid to shore up rial

Kremlin says five Russians killed in US Syria strikes

Oman FM in rare visit by Arab official to Jerusalem

Senior IS leader extradited to Iraq from Turkey

Strikes hit another hospital in Syria's Idlib

Churches snub Jerusalem reception over tax dispute with Israeli authorities

Tillerson says US never gave 'heavy arms' to Kurdish YPG

Captured foreign IS suspects claim innocence

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE

Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza's only power plant