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Gays to face new clamp

A NATIONWIDE crackdown on homosexuals could be launched in Bahrain, including tougher immigration checks to stop foreign gays entering the country. It would include a study to determine how widespread homosexuality is in Bahrain.

Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee has already backed the proposal, which would force the government to carry out the study.

The proposal was submitted by MPs belonging to the Al Menbar parliamentary bloc.

It is in response to what MPs see as Bahrain's growing gay problem and foreigners found to be gay face deportation, said committee secretary Jalal Fairooz.

He said the study was being carried out despite the fact that the Education Ministry claims there are no homosexuals in schools.

However, Mr Fairooz had no suggestions on how such a study could be carried out, saying it would be up to the government to decide.

"The Interior Ministry has told us that it already bans suspected homosexuals as they try entering the country from Bahrain International Airport," said committee secretary Jalal Fairooz.

However, he claimed the ministry said homosexuals pretend not to be gay by posing "manly" until they make it past immigration.

"They look manly as they come to the airport, but when they get in they return back to their unaccepted homosexual attitude," said Mr Fairooz.

"Homosexuals are found in huge numbers at hairdressing salons and beauty and massage spas, which the ministry regularly inspects."

However, he said many homosexuals were slipping through the net because the ministry was having problems determining if they were gay or not.

"Those who look homosexual or offer customers personal services are being caught by police and taken to the Public Prosecution," he said.

He described gays as "dangerous" and a "threat to our society and Islamic values".

"That's why the proposal asks the government to come up with a study on the problem and eliminate it before it increases and becomes hard to control, as more gays enter the country," he added.

MPs have approached the ministries of Information, Health and Industry and Commerce, along with the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, for their feedback.

However, they have said the issue was not in their remit.

The proposal will now be listed for discussion by parliament's general-secretariat.

alaali@gdn.com.bh



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