Amina, Gay Girl in Damascus is a Hoax *updated*



note: updated below

Whoever perpetrated this fraud should be ashamed but somehow, I doubt they are not. For the past two weeks glbt activists, pro-democracy activists, Syrian/Egyptian/etc. human rights activists and the rest of us have been tweeting about the fate of Amina, believing that she had been dragged from her home by the Syrian regime.

Good old fashioned sleuth-work by Electronic Intifada and the Washington Post have found:

The information presented below connects the “Amina” blogger to two people in real life: Thomas (Tom) J MacMaster and Britta Froelicher who are married to each other.
Correspondence

The Electronic Intifada wrote to MacMaster requesting to speak to him about “Amina,” to which he responded, “Thanks, but as I have stated before, it is neither my wife nor me.”

A follow up email from The Electronic Intifada to MacMaster asking to speak to him so that we could present the information we have met with the following response:

Unfortunately, we’re on vacation so I wouldn’t be able to do so. We have already been ‘confronted’ by the Washington post with these and have denied them and will continue to do so.”

We do not know what information The Washington Post may have confronted MacMaster with and whether it is the same information presented here. In a final response to The Electronic Intifada, MacMaster wrote:

I am not the blogger in question. Whomever that person ‘really’ is, I have doubtless interacted with her at some point. I do not know further than that about her. When I first read the news story, I momentarily thought I had an idea who she was. As time has progressed that seems much less likely. I understand there are a number of unusual coincidences regarding the blogger and either me or my wife. Those are, as far as I am aware, simply unusual. I am not going to make more of that.

MacMaster has acknowledged certain “coincidences” but as mentioned refused to grant us an opportunity to go through them in detail in an attempt to explain or debunk them. We present below the information we wanted to discuss with MacMaster.
“Amina’s” home address is the same as MacMaster’s address

On a private Yahoo discussion group named “thecrescentland” that was run and operated by “Amina” and has since been closed down, the following name and physical address information was displayed, according to a person who was a member of that group:

Amina Arraf & Ian Lazarus
c/o Mr & Mrs Abdallah Arraf-Omari
5646 Crestwood Dr, SW
Stone Mountain, GA 30087

There is, however, no evidence of an Amina Arraf, Ian Lazarus or Mr & Mrs Abdallah Arraf-Omari ever owning or occupying this address.

According to State of Georgia property records, the house at that address has been owned by Thomas MacMaster for many years. On 29 November 2007, MacMaster quit-claimed a share of ownership in the property to Britta Froelicher. MacMaster and Froelicher are the current owners of the property according to State property records.

[h/t Mondoweiss]

update:
The Gay Girl in Damascus website now has an apology up admitting that the site and the person called Amina is a hoax:

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About Stacy

Attorney, Publisher, Foreign Policy wonk

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6 Comments on “Amina, Gay Girl in Damascus is a Hoax *updated*”

  1. Susan Says:

    Thanks for posting this. I followed this a bit on Twitter but not as much as some people. When I first heard about this in the beginning when people thought Amina was a real person I thought it was strange that a Syrian lesbian would be able to have that blog without drawing attention to herself in a dangerous way.

    This guy really sounds like a jerk and for him to claim he was trying to help people is ridiculous. I read today that he’s doing some media interviews like he’s a celebrity or something. Getting his 15 minutes of fame.

    Many in the LGBT community are none to pleased with this, having spent days trying to find out what happened to Amina and drawing attention to her plight.

    Reply

  2. KingTut Says:

    On Twitter @GayMiddleEast has been following this unfolding story closely.

    Reply

  3. Steve Says:

    This story is unbelievable. The guy that perpetrated this fraud still doesn’t get it. That he thinks a white heterosexual guy should speak on behalf of lesbian Arabs in repressed countries shows he is clueless. He thinks this fraud was a way to draw attention to these issues? How about he support ACTUAL glbt folks in the Middle East and elsewhere?

    Reply

  4. Steve Says:

    It’s going to take me a while to get used to this favicon image- I’m used to the geometric one I have on your other site! In this one I look quite perturbed!

    Great Twitter account btw Stacy.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Sunday Early Bird News Round-Up: Father’s Day | Taylor Marsh - TaylorMarsh.com - News, Analysis, Independent Political Opinion on Progressive Politics - June 19, 2011

    […] the wake of the “Gay Girl in Damascus”/Amina controversy (if you are not familiar with it you can read about it here) there has been quite an important […]

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