LGBT Tunisia: Rift over Israel, tactics, morals of gay candidate

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07/23/2019

Eleven Tunisian LGBT rights groups have attacked gay presidential candidate Mounir Baatour and his LGBT association, Shams, criticizing them for lack of hostility to Israel, for alleged sexual abuse, and for their tactic of “outing” politicians and others. Baatour’s opponents are seeking signatures for an online petition on Change.org titled “Denounce of the candidacy of Mounir Baatour for the presidency.” The charges against him are similar to the complaints that three of the same Tunisian LGBT groups issued against Shams in 2018. The main reason for their opposition, according to Baatour, is that he supports Israel’s right to exist. “Their problem is Israel,” he says. “I accuse them of anti-Semitism. Their petition proves it. They are racists and xenophobes. For me, anti-Semitism is racism.” As for the charges of sexual abuses and the use of involuntary “outings” of politicians, he says: “Those are not important. Otherwise they would have filed a complaint in court .”

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