Christian extremists destroy LGBT monument in East Beirut

Christian extremists have destroyed an LGBT monument in East Beirut amid a rise in hate speech against the LGBT community

Activists gather outside the Home Office on Sunday to protest the recent rise in homophobia [Getty]

Christian extremists have demolished an ornate rainbow flag monument in east Beirut, as Lebanon experiences a spate of homophobic and transphobic incidents.

In a video posted by “Soldiers of God” on facebook, an individual shouts at the camera “There are churches in this neighborhood, and you dare to raise the gay flag? You have the devil in you.

The flowered flag was designed by members of the community who, according to the video, received permission from city authorities to build the flag in solidarity with Beirut’s LGBT community.

“There will be no Satan in Ashrafieh – this neighborhood is for the soldiers of God,” shouted another member of the group, who quoted Bible verses as they demolished the facility.

On Friday, the Lebanese Interior Minister added his voice to recent calls by religious authorities to condemn all public activities related to the LGBT community.

In an open letter, Bassam Mawlawi claimed that “sexual perversion” was spreading in Lebanese society in contradiction to Lebanese customs.

According to Helem, an LGBT rights group, “the letter was accompanied by extensive homophobic and transphobic hate speech in conservative print media and on social media,” as well as similar statements from religious leaders.

Helem accused political and religious elites of stoking hatred and “moral sexual panic” to distract from Lebanon’s economic and political problems.

“Regimes and institutions that have failed to provide justice, safety and security to their people often rely on attacking and sacrificing marginalized communities to divert public attention from their failures and of their corruption,” Helem said in a statement on Saturday.

Activists and allies of the LGBT community in Lebanon gather on Sunday to protest against the minister’s letter, outside the Interior Ministry in Beirut.

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