UAE retracts issue of children magazine after claims of 'promoting homosexuality'
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a popular comic for kids in the Arab world published by Abu Dhabi Media and sold in a number of countries, was withdrawn last week, as it depicted a multi-coloured character.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.
مثلي = Like me— Meriam Al Sultan سا(حرة) 🪄 (@AlSultan_Meriam) June 26, 2022
العربي إذا شاف مصطلح "يصبح مثلي" وجنبه ألوان
مثلي = gay!
مافيه إنسان يصير مثلي بلمسة! ما أحد يحول الناس لمثليين، هذا يبغاهم ملونين مثله وليس يحولهم مثليين!
ماهو إنسان حتى!
مجلة ماجد فيها أفكار دينية صارت تدعم المثليين وتحول الأطفال لمثليين! 😵💫 هوموفوبيتكم عظيمة https://t.co/5gY4kaMhog
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.
حتى أنت يابروتس (ياماجد) ؟!— عبدالله النعيمي * (@AbdullaALnu3imi) June 26, 2022
مجلة ماجد تلك التي تعلمنا الكثير والكثير من قصصها الجميلة والبريئة ومازلنا نذكر النقيب خلفان ومساعده فهمان
قصص هادفة ربّت وأنشأت أجيال كنا نحرص ونتسابق ونقطع مسافات للذهاب للمكتبة وشرائها فلم يكن يومها يوجد باعة متجولون
فهل ركبت يا ماجد الموجة؟ 🌊 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/DN9oWMe3pW
Emirati authorities took measures to withdraw May’s edition and open an investigation with Abu Dhabi Media following the outcry.
مكتب تنظيم الإعلام يفتح تحقيقاً مع شركة أبوظبي للإعلام ويوجه بسحب جميع منشورات مجلة ماجد الخاصة بشهر مايو الماضي من جميع الأسواق بعد قيام المجلة بنشر قصة ترسخ مفهوم المثلية الجنسية في الجيل الناشئ 🏳️🌈— Prof. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi (@suwaidi_jamal) June 25, 2022
المجلة إماراتية ونشرت القصة في عددها السابق وتم اكتشافه بعد شكاوي من بعض الدول
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.
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.