Religious extremist sets up makeshift school to ‘treat’ homosexuality in young people
An evangelical pastor is setting up a school in Egypt that will attempt to “treat” homosexuality in young people.
Pastor Tony George Rizk, a member of the Evangelicals Association in Egypt and the Middle East, plans to open the school on 26 December in Heliopolis, where he will conduct the harmful practice of conversion therapy on LGBT+ youth.
The pastor, who is also founder of community youth service tC Egypt, said in a statement that the school will run for eight weeks and will target queer youth.
In a statement, Rizk claimed that his school will work with people who want to to change their sexual orientation.
Without any evidence, Rizk claims that homosexuality can be “treated” and that people are gay due to childhood trauma, sexual abuse and bullying.
He went on to claim that he is setting up the school because he believes he has a responsibility to queer youth, and said a team of “specialists” would work with LGBT+ young people in the school.
Those “specialists” include therapists specialising in sexuality and sex addiction, as well as “survivors” of homosexuality, he claimed.
Pastor in Egypt believes people can ‘recover’ from homosexuality
Rizk went on to reference the Bible’s teachings about sexuality, claiming that sex outside of marriage is a sin and that “sin must be dealt with”.
He said nobody would be forced to attend his anti-gay school and that they would take in LGBT+ youth who approached him for guidance.
Risk added: “Recovering from homosexuality is not impossible,” according to the Egyptian Independent.
Despite Rizk’s claims, conversion therapy is widely considered to be a dangerous and harmful form of pseudoscience propagated by religious extremists.
The practice has been condemned by various health and psychiatry bodies across the world, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry.
A survey conducted by the Ozanne Foundation in 2019 found that one in five survivors of conversion therapy in the UK later attempted suicide, while two in five said they had suicidal thoughts after undergoing the harmful practice.
Meanwhile, less than a third of those surveyed said they went on to “lead a happy and fulfilled life”.
Despite this, conversion therapy continues to be popular among conservative Christian groups across the world, with many pushing the false narrative on LGBT+ youth that their identities are wrong and can be changed.
Conversion therapy has been banned in some parts of the world, but remains legal in the UK – despite the Conservative party’s repeated pledges to outlaw the practice.