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Friday, August 11, 2017

Kuwait Intensifies Crackdown Against Homosexuals

Representatives from Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Interior, and Kuwait Municipality continued the raids on massage parlors. The head of the committee Muhammad Al-Dhufairi said the group has shut down 22 massage parlors in the first half of 2017 and deported 76 homosexuals. This is a result of a nationwide campaign against vice, to which homosexuality is considered. He added that the committee discovered women's underwear, makeup and sex objects from the parlors and submitted these to relevant authorities as evidence. He noted members of the Moral Guidance Unit were included in the committee to boost its crackdown on vice.

Kuwait University staff Dr. Rashed Al-Azmi said people repeatedly complained about these massage parlors that are into moral violations, and called for shutting down of such places. He stressed the importance of activating the role of women police for follow up. He added some massage parlors receive not only women but men acting like women. He also explained that massage is permitted as a form of therapy but it’s prohibited to take off clothing and to touch the bare skin.

Undercover police check the documents of massage parlor worker. It is not clear if they are Filipinos.

A cleric at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Ibrahim Banseer, said massage parlors may draw customers to the vice of homosexuality, which is strongly condemned and forbidden in Islamic countries. He called on authorities and the media to follow up the issue and notify the public about the dangers of spreading such vice.

Another cleric from the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Rashed Al-Elaimi, pointed out that massage could be therapeutic when done by trained specialists under the supervision of specialist doctors. He stressed that watching the naked body is strongly prohibited unless in serious medical cases that could save the person’s life.

Head of Scientific Committee at the Islamic Heritage Revival Society Dr. Muhammad Al-Najdi said massage could be allowed as long as violations are avoided, especially if it’s for therapeutic purpose. He also said massage could be permitted if certain conditions are followed, and by covering the body. There should also be separate areas for each gender. He reiterated violation of these conditions opens the door for vice. This is why authorities now closely follow up massage centers to prevent violations and punish violators.
Police handcuff and arrest individuals suspected of being homosexuals. They appear to be Asian, but it's not clear if they are Filipinos.

In all the Gulf Cooperation Council States, any form of homosexuality is illegal. LGBT people in the region - both locals and expatriates - maybe subjected to harassment, blackmail and abuse. Arabs shun gay men and women in their families, often denying such conditions existed.

Punishments for homosexuality differs from each state. The punishment for homosexuality in Saudi Arabia, and it's non GCC neighbor, Iran, is death. Their neighbors are less cruel, some still giving physical punishments before deportation.

The following is a list of countries that considers homosexuality a crime.

  • Afghanistan - Long imprisonment
  • Egypt - Imprisonment, Fine and Rehabilitation
  • Gaza - Imprisonment for 10 years
  • Iran - Lashes and/or Death
  • Kuwait - Imprisonment for up to 7 years
  • Lebanon - Imprisonment for up to 1 year
  • Oman - Imprisonment for up to 3 years
  • Qatar - Imprisonment for up to 7 years or death
  • Saudi Arabia - Lashes or death by stoning
  • Syria - Imprisonment for up to 3 years
  • UAE - Imprisonment for up to 10 or 14 years
  • Yemen - Imprisonment for up to 3-7 years

In 2013, Kuwait publicly announced the entry ban for homosexuals, where they intended to develop "tests" to determine the homosexuality of incoming expatriates. Other GCC countries made similar pronouncements. At that time, anyone suspected of homosexuality were also threatened with deportation.

The west have always seen this view of homosexuals as a form of homophobia. In the region, Israel is the only country that allows open expression of LGBT rights.

source: ArabTimes

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