Textbook of German school in Cairo mentions but does not promote homosexuality: Embassy

Amr Kandil , Zeinab El-Gundy , Tuesday 23 Apr 2024

The German embassy in Cairo has defended Rahn Schulen Kairo, a German international school based in Cairo, stating that its elementary school textbooks mention but do not promote homosexuality.

German Embassy
File Photo: The German Embassy building in Cairo. Photo courtesy of German Embassy.

 

“It is untrue and illogical for Rahn Schulen Kairo to promote specific sexual orientations,” the embassy said in a statement on Monday.

The embassy criticized the condemnation of the school based on “factual descriptive content” included in the textbooks, however, it admits the school's textbook mentions the existence of different sexual orientations, in "a purely scientific manner, similar to how biology textbooks handle the topic."

The mention was made without judgment, the embassy added.

The embassy asserted that German schools respect the cultural and religious values prevailing in Egypt, and advised schools to consider the host country's cultural and religious values when preparing educational content.

The embassy stated that “misunderstanding” can occur during intercultural communication, emphasizing ongoing efforts to prevent such misunderstandings.

“In Egypt, as in Germany, parents want their children to grow up in an environment free of violence and discrimination and to be raised to become critically thinking, confident, and independent adults,” the embassy added.

 

School in hot water

Rahn Schulen Kairo has been in hot water as Egyptian authorities are investigating its alleged promotion of homosexuality to sixth-grade elementary students.

Lawyer Ashraf Nagy, who represents one of the students’ parents, filed a complaint to the Public Prosecution on 4 April, accusing the school of teaching “indecent study materials” that “promote homosexuality.”

The complaint argues that such materials encourage same-gender sexual interaction among children and youth, which contradicts morals, religious teachings, and societal values.

While consensual homosexual acts are not explicitly criminalized under Egyptian law, Nagy argues that they fall under Law 10/1961, which addresses combating debauchery and prostitution.

Egyptian society strongly opposes these acts, and those promoting homosexuality often face legal consequences under this law.

The Egyptian Coptic Christians Orthodox Church and Al-Azhar have historically opposed same-gender relations.

Education ministry intervenes
 

In response to the accusations, Minister of Education Reda Hegazy ordered the formation of a committee of international education experts and ministry officials to investigate the matter and take immediate legal action if necessary.

The ministry emphasized its complete rejection of any attempts by schools in Egypt to promote or teach materials contradicting human nature, divine revelation, societal values, or ethics.

The ministry said its top priority is to raise decent individuals who believe in their role in shaping future generations, and contributing to the creation of a safe, virtuous, and secure society.

Media reports displayed images of the purported textbook showing images of same-gender couples hugging.

The text discussed same-gender sexual experiences and the fear many individuals have in publicly identifying as homosexual.

Ahram Online could not independently verify the authenticity of these materials but they align with Nagy’s description of the textbook content during media remarks.

Nagy claimed that the school asked some parents to tear out those pages from the sixth and ninth-grade textbooks to avoid trouble.

School fires back
 

Cairo24 quoted Rahn Schulen Kairo’s legal advisor who rebutted claims that the materials promoted homosexuality, saying that all textbooks used in the school are monitored and authorized by the Ministry of Education.

Birgit Lindermayr, a press secretary at the school, informed Ahram Online that the school would wait for the education ministry's committee to conclude its review before commenting.

On Sunday, Egypt's National Council for Motherhood and Childhood submitted an official complaint to the Public Prosecution, raising similar accusations against the school.

Parliamentary action
 

Furthermore, Member of Parliament Mahmoud Essam submitted an urgent statement to Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, arguing that the education ministry has not swiftly disclosed the outcomes of the investigations.

Essam called for a statement from the ministry regarding the investigation results and monitoring measures for international schools and universities, along with regulations on their content and teaching practices if they violate religious and societal standards.

He mentioned the possibility of submitting an urgent statement to the House of Representatives to address this issue.

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