Israeli activist for LGBT rights, Doron Braunshtein, is the first person in history to wave the flag of pride inside a mosque in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the ten largest and most important mosques for Muslims around the world. Braunshtein recounts: "It was what could be called a" guerrilla operation, because it is against the law. The United Arab Emirates has the death penalty for homosexual relations and it is strictly forbidden to express a gesture of pride or to wave the flag of pride in public and the punishment for this is imprisonment. I did it on December 1, 2021, International AIDS Day, because it is symbolic for me. " He said, "During my life I have lost three good and dear friends, who died of AIDS, friends who fought all their lives for their rights as gays, and I spontaneously felt I had to do it, for them."
What happened a moment after the hoist? "Immediately afterwards the security guards at this mosque attacked me, took the pride flag from me by force, angrily ordered me to take off the pride scarf that was on my neck and all the pride bracelets that were on my hands. It was scary, like I was in a movie. Their violent reaction, the assault "Everyone was on me and the rage in their eyes made it clear to me that I was in a Muslim country. I thought they would arrest me but they ordered me to delete all the pictures on my cell phone I took inside the mosque.
How do you sum up the experience? "This is a huge moment in the history of the proud community in the world and especially for Muslim LGBT people who live in fear, in the dark, and suffer from indescribable oppression around the world. It could have ended in my arrest or a diplomatic incident. And even if it did, it was worth it. To be the first to be photographed with the pride flag inside the most important mosque in the devout Sunni Muslim state of Abu Dhabi, one of the most important mosques in the world, to commemorate free love and our acceptance, the LGBT community, as an integral part of all, is a matter of life and death.