Translated and adapted by Nedal Aziz, GME Arabic Editor
According to Al Wasat News Bahrainian police arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning (February 3, 2011) a group of over 100 young men, mostly from Bahrain and GCC countries (another article in Al Ayam claimed that in fact the number was 127 people, including a Syrian and Lebanese).
One source mentioned (quoted by Al Wasat News) that the police was tipped off by local area residents complaining about noise levels emanating from the Rayan Hall in the el Had Sport Club. Following the tip off, police immediately raided the party and arrested the men. Some were allegedly drunk, and others were described as wearing women’s’ clothing and make up. El had is a neighbourhood in Muharraq well known as being very devout, religious and conservative.
The attorney of Muharraq District, Nauef Yousef Mahmoud mentioned that group was arrested on the charge of conduct against public morals and will be referred to the Bahrain General Attorney.
Al Ayam further claimed that the police is now engaged in a separation of the guests from the organisers of the party, and checking if any have a history of “debauchery or sodomy”. Al Ayam also remarked that the process will take up to forty eight hours after which the embassies of the different nationalities will be informed.
At the time of publication of this article there were 144 extremely homophobic comments on the Al Wasat News article, using derogatory language and calling to apply the harshest penalties on the "sinners".
Traditionally Bahrain is known as relatively open minded and as the playground for the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) – where people can relax, drink and enjoy prostitution. This is the second incident in less than three months where the police raided such establishments. These incidents raise questions if this is a change of policy and of the traditional tolerance in Bahrain.