Egyptian police are allegedly using dating apps like Grindr to lure gay men into hotel rooms with the intention of arresting them. The explosive claim has been made by a gender researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
Speaking to The Age newspaper, Dalia Abdel-Hameed said that she unearthed dozens of police reports which outline a ‘cultivation’ technique where suspected gay men are seduced via dating apps.
She further went on to add, “It’s related to the fact that men are using apps more than women and an obsession of who is being penetrated. There is this penetration mania in Egypt due to religious reasons, mostly.”
The violent ‘crackdown’ on gay men began last month following a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo, where some members of the crowd waved rainbow flags.
Over 57 people have been arrested since the incident on charges of debauchery and sexual deviancy laws. Many of these have reportedly been lured through dating apps like Grindr.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, views towards the LGBT community are increasingly turning hostile, and the term ‘debauchery’ has allowed authorities to arrest gay men.
Interestingly, state media and the religious establishment are claiming that it’s a public duty to tackle the spread of homosexuality. Recently, a bill was proposed by MP Riyad Abdel Sattar that would make homosexuality illegal in Egypt if passed.
In an effort to combat this crackdown on LGBT+ people, gay dating apps Grindr and Hornet are issuing safety warnings and tips in Arabic to users in the region who are at risk of being targeted by authorities.
Grindr is using tips that include letting close ones know where you are going before you meet someone, double checking if you have mutual friends with the other user, and attempting to meet in a virtual space so you can be certain that you are talking to another LGBT+ person and not an undercover official.