Metro Weekly

Arab nations are more accepting of honor killings than homosexuality, study says

Six out of seven nations surveyed found honor killings more acceptable than homosexuality

According to a new study, people in Arab nations are more accepting of honor killings than homosexuality.

BBC News Arabic polled more than 25,000 people in Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Palestinian territories in the West Bank on various matters, including religion, politics, and morality.

The Arab Barometer survey found that acceptance of homosexuality is “low or extremely low” across the region, with a high of 26% acceptance in Algeria, to just 5% acceptance in the Palestinian territories.

That contrasts with acceptance of honor killings, where relatives kill a family member (usually a female family member) for purportedly bringing dishonor on the family.

While acceptance of such killings was still low, those surveyed in six of the seven nations found honor killings to be more acceptable than homosexuality.

Source: BBC News

Only Sudan was more accepting of homosexuality (17%) than honor killings (14%), while Jordan had the biggest discrepancy of those surveyed — 21% found honor killings acceptable, while only 7% accepted homosexuality.

Those in Palestine’s West Bank were least likely to accept homosexuality at 5%, with 8% finding honor killings to be acceptable.

Of the seven countries and territories surveyed, five criminalize same-sex sexual activity — Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. It is punishable with fines, a prison sentence or, in Sudan, the death penalty. (Palestine’s West Bank does not criminalize same-sex relations, but the Gaza region does.)

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Jordan since 1951, with an equal age of consent to heterosexual couples.

In addition, citizens in Jordan have the right to legally change their gender, as do those in Lebanon, which also declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 2013.

And some courts in Lebanon have argued against prosecuting LGBTQ people under the country’s ban on same-sex activity — though it is still illegal nationwide.

However, that marginally more liberal legal standpoint with regards LGBTQ people is not reflected in apparent acceptance of homosexuality — Jordan and Lebanon produced two of the lowest acceptance rates among those surveyed.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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