Education Ministry initiates urgent investigation into textbook cartoon which ‘supports homosexuality’

The Education Ministry assigned on Tuesday the General Education Sector’s committee to initiate an urgent investigation regarding the validity of pictures which “support homosexuality in the educational curricula”, after the claims were made on social media.

Pictures emerged of an English-language textbook, allegedly from an international school in Egypt, with cartoons showing illustrating potential formations of a family.

The first cartoon shows a grandfather, a grandmother, a father, and a mother, while the second shows a mother and a father.

The third and fourth cartoons, however, caused a stir on social media as the cartoon illustration suggests the role of parenting could be performed by two mothers or two fathers.

Critics claimed the cartoons were “promoting homosexuality and establishing a culture of gay marriage [among] a new generation of children.”

The spokesperson for the Education Ministry, Ahmed Khairy, said on Tuesday that “the ministry formed a committee to ensure the validity of [the] photos, and to know if they belong to an international school’s book, or if they are foreign books, before taking strict measures.”

Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, but in the late 1990s, the police implemented the use of two old laws – a 1950 anti-prostitution law and a 1961 law against ‘debauchery’ – to arrest and charge practicing LGBT individuals. In 2001, a high-profile raid on the Queen Boat, a gay-friendly club on the Nile, saw 52 men arrested.

More recently, in October, dozens were arrested after a rainbow flag was raised at a Mashrou’ Leila concert – a Lebanese rock band whose main singer is openly-gay, and the band was banned from performing in Egypt.

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