Egypt’s Religious Endowments Minister accused “Zionist forces” of promoting atheism and homosexuality in his country.
Speaking with Al-Hayat TV, an Evangelical Arabic-language television station, Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa said “colonial Zionist forces” support “atheists and atheism and finance homosexuals and homosexuality” in an effort to fragment Egyptian society. The interview, which took place in September, was published Sunday by MEMRI, a Washington-based Middle Eastern media watchdog group.
Gomaa is a cabinet member in the Sissi government, which coordinates closely with Israel on security and economic issues.
The minister went on to criticize “Zionist forces” for undermining regional stability by means of “terrorism, of atheism, of nihilism, and of deviance. We must confront atheism, nihilism, homosexuality and moral depravity the same way we confront extremism and terrorism,” said Gomaa.
Although public officials in Egypt have restrained anti-Israel rhetoric in the recent past, Egyptian authorities are frequently criticized for targeting homosexuals and other minorities.
Human rights groups have slammed Cairo for imprisoning individuals caught engaging in consensual homosexual activities.
On Saturday an Egyptian court imprisoned eight men for three years for “inciting debauchery” after allegedly attending a same-sex wedding party on a boat in the Nile River.