A feud between a Jordanian member of parliament and an LGBT magazine has escalated over the past few days, leading to a slew of media attacks against the publication.
MP Dima Tahboub, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in England and is a member of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, filed a personal complaint against the electronic magazine My.Kali on Monday, escalating a social media battle between her and the publication.
Tahboub filed the complaint with the Audiovisual Media Authority - Media Commission, using the term "shawath" – which means perverts or deviants – to describe the online LGBT magazine.
Local media responded, mostly appearing to support or promote Tahboub's stated opinion that homosexuality is a disease that must be treated.
"The fierce and inciteful media attacked the webzine and all what it represents, along with frightening comments on social media, which were centered around hate, death threats and physical abuse by people who could identify Khalid Abdel Hadi, editor-in-chief and the founder of My.Kali," Jameel Jones, public relations for the magazine told StepFeed in a statement.
Although the magazine was reportedly shutdown by Tahboub's efforts, the magazine pointed out that it has already been blocked for a year.
It all started last month
DW - Conflict Zone published a video interview with Tahboub on July 20, discussing the recent cancellation of Lebanese indie band Mashrou' Leila's Amman concert after lawmakers objected to the lead singer's sexuality.
In the interview with British journalist Tim Sebastian, Tahboub replied affirmatively when the former asked whether the message behind the ban was that homosexuals are not welcome in the country.
On the same day, Tahboub reasserted her views by posting a tweet mocking a gay couple.
My.Kali quickly responded with the image of a radical feminist
"Yes, it is provocative, but why do we always exaggerate with our reactions and put pictures just to provoke people or prove a certain point? Does this picture demonstrate women's rights?"
Tahboub responded by blocking the publication on Twitter
Tahboub stands opposed to the entire LGBT community
While Tahboub maintains that she does not see homosexuals as criminals, she does see it as a psychological disorder that should be treated. Leading psychologists, psychiatrists, and medical practitioners do not view homosexuality as a disease or disorder. Attempting to treat or change someone's sexual orientation is classified as torture by many leading experts around the world.
Yet, Tahboub stands against the medical and scientific community, insisting that homosexuality be treated as a disease.
"I see them as people with mental disorders who need to be treated using psychology," she said.
Tahboub also wishes to ensure that Jordan does not agree to any international treaties supporting the LGBT community.
"These treaties should not oppose the Jordanian constitution, and the constitution says the official religion is Islam. This means that this subject (LGBT+ rights) opposes public order. International treaties should not go against what the people consider to be normal and suitable," she said.
Jordan does not criminalize homosexuality
While Jordan does not criminalize homosexuality, it does not provide protections for the LGBT community either.
"Portrayals of LGBT people in the media often reflect misinformation, stereotypes, and sensationalism," My.Kali founder Khalid Abdel-Hadi told StepFeed in June.
"I think there's a huge false notion created by the media, specifically in our region, that LGBT is a social plague, created and imported from the west to corrupt our cultures, customs and traditions, or that the LGBT community in the MENA region would want to follow in the footsteps of other LGBT communities and fight for the right to marry," he said.
In June, Jordanian authorities decided to ban Mashrou' Leila from performing in the country for the second year in a row, due to the band's lead singer and queer themes in the group's music. A concert had been scheduled in Amman and the band had obtained all necessary permits.
In the interview about the ban with DW - Conflict Zones, Tahboub explained that she does not believe homosexuals are welcome in her country.