UAE retracts issue of children magazine after claims of 'promoting homosexuality'

UAE retracts issue of children magazine after claims of 'promoting homosexuality'
3 min read
27 June, 2022
A publishing house in the UAE was forced to retract a May issue of one of its popular children's magazine after being accused of promoting homosexuality
An investigation has been opened into the Abu Dhabi-based media house over the magazine issue [Getty]

An investigation has been opened into a children’s magazine in the United Arab Emirates for promoting, according to authorities, homosexuality.

The May issue of Majid Magazine, a popular comic for kids in the Arab world published by Abu Dhabi Media and sold in a number of countries, was withdrawn last week, as it depicted a multi-coloured character.

"Amazing, I have the capability to colour things… Ali will wish to become like me," reads one line.

The term "homosexual" and "like me" in Arabic are "mithli," which both spell and sound the same. Some social media users claim this was done on purpose as a play on words.

Many in the Gulf took to social media to voice their anger and discontent with the publication, "appalled" and "shocked" that their favourite kid’s magazine was promoting homosexuality, they said.

Emirati authorities took measures to withdraw May’s edition and open an investigation with Abu Dhabi Media following the outcry.

Some went as far as to call for the complete shut down of the publishing company as a warning to other media houses.

The decision was the latest in a crackdown on the LGBT+ community and symbolism in the region, which has seen authorities take measures deemed ridiculous by activists.

Kuwait earlier this month called on the general public to report to authorities if they see the pride flag anywhere, asking them to recognise the difference between the six colours of the flag and the seven colours of the rainbow.

Prior to that, Saudi Arabia began seizing rainbow-coloured toys and articles of clothing from shops.

Queer rights activists were forced on the weekend to cancel protests in Beirut after receiving death threats and warnings of homophobic counter protests, despite Lebanon being considered the most liberal country in the region where an LGBT+ community thrives.

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A Jordan-based financial institution was forced to release a statement on Sunday clarifying that it was not promoting homosexuality in a recent publication after receiving several complaints.

Several Middle East and North Africa countries have also banned movies in the past for having gay characters, most recently animated feature 'Lightyear' and Marvel 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'.

Most Arab countries criminalise same-sex relations, and there have been reports of inhumane detention and invasive searches in many of them in recent years.