Sunday, November 27, 2005

News (UAE): "Scholars seek punishment for gays" - Gulf News

Scholars seek punishment for gays
By Bassam Za'za' and Shireena Al Nowais, Staff Reporters

Dubai, Abu Dhabi: UAE scholars and social experts denounced the recent attempt to hold what security authorities called "a mass homosexual wedding," and stressed that such people should be punished by law.

According to Islamic Sharia Laws, a man who has intercourse with another man "should be executed", said Abdul Salam Mohammad Darwish, an Islamic scholar and social and family counsellor.

Denouncing the alleged gay wedding party that took place in one of the hotels in Ghantout, Darwish said, "It is scandalous. It is not part of the Islamic religion or UAE culture".

"Surely it was not the first time they met. They must have held parties and met in similar unacceptable and abnormal celebrations. There had been reports of similar incidents in other emirates," he said.

He warned against the increase in such deviant behaviour. "Some of the males who live an extravagant life became decadent," he said.

The counsellor urged the authorities to place those "sick men" in an intensive psychological and educational rehabilitation programme.

Colonel Najm Al Howsani, Director of Social Support Centre at Ministry of Interior, where the 26 men who had been arrested were referred to, said the suspects would undergo a psychological and physical therapy after the court rules into their case.

He added: "According to the Islamic Sharia, the suspects won't be let go unpunished, if proven guilty, and society disapproves and resents such behaviour."

Dr Saif Bin Rashid Al Gaberi, the Director of Ifta'a and Researches Administration at the Dubai Department of Islamic affairs and Charitable Activities, said it is an immoral and "abnormal" behaviour.

"It is not a new phenomenon in many other religions and cultures. It rarely happens in Muslim societies. It happens particularly when religious and social education weakens and the individual's religious deterrent becomes non-existent," he said.

He said society was also responsible for the deviant behaviour of the men.

"The responsibility falls primarily on fathers for failing to bring up their children as God-fearing, and secondly on their mothers who saw their sons behave like a woman but failed to stop them," he said.

"This is what happens when schools and parents neglect children. The openness and technological advancements sometimes lead to such deplorable acts."

Nevertheless, he expected the trend to increase "due to the ill-mannered openness, lack of social restrictions and straying from path shown by God."

What the penal code says

- Anyone convicted of committing a lewd or indecent act in public would be sentenced to a six-month term in jail.

- Anyone convicted of shouting, singing or saying invectives in public, or anyone convicted of seducing others to commit adultery, would be sentenced to a jail term that would not exceed six months, and to be fined not more than Dh5,000 or both.

- Any person who makes advances to a male or female or attempts to seduce or commit any lewd acts would be sentenced to not less than a year and fined. If the victim is under the age of 18, the accused would be imprisoned for no less than two years and be fined.

- Any person convicted of setting up or running a prostitution den, or assisting anyone else in setting it up or running it, shall be imprisoned temporarily.

The prostitution den shall be closed down and shall not be opened except if the prostitution activity is changed and an approval is obtained from the Public Prosecution.

What happened

More than 20 young men were recently arrested at a gay party in a chalet in Ghantout. The Abu Dhabi General Directorate of Police said agents from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested 26 men, some of who were dressed as women.

Half of the men, including UAE nationals, Arabs and Asians were dressed as women, with make-up and hairstyles, and the others were dressed in Arab attire."

The group had similar parties at hotels and chalets, and those dressed as women earned money as prostitutes.

The police source said the party might have been a 'wedding' party. "To our knowledge, this is the first time that a gay wedding has been [attempted to be] held in the UAE."

A similar incident may have occurred a few months ago in one the northern emirates when more than five men were reported to have been arrested for attending a gay wedding ceremony. The news could not be independently confirmed.


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