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.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Jihadists flock to fight on ‘unprecedented scale’

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli