Egyptian actress Mona Hala defended homosexuality in Egypt in a brave interview with private TV channel ONTV that was recently translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"He is free to be [a homosexual]. It's not my place to pass moral judgment on people," she said in the April 19 interview. "It's none of my business."
Hala argued homosexuality has been present since the beginning of history, citing Alexandria's founded, Alexander the Great, who some historians say had sexual relations with other men. "Is that a reason to destroy Alexandria or change its name?" she asked.
In addition to mentioning many historical figures, Hala also said many actors in Egypt are also homosexual. "There are many people like that. That's the way it is. That's how nature created them," she said.
"I am opposed to discrimination against any human being, whether on the basis of skin color, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Anything," Hala added.
Hala also spoke out against the recent ruling by an Egyptian court, giving precedent to deport foreigners for being gay. "Let's say someone has homosexual relations in his country and wants to come to Egypt to see the antiquities and so on. What right do you have to prevent him from doing so? I don't get it," she said.
The statement from a celebrity is a rare show of public support for Egypt's homosexual community, which has been under tough crackdown since the installation of the military-backed government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Political analysts say the persecution of gays in Egypt by the Sisi government is a move to win over Muslim conservatives who could doubt the new president's committment to traditional family values.
The full interview in Arabic with ONTV can be seen on YouTube here.