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Roger Scruton: An apology for thinking Roger Scruton. Inside the Brexit Party launch: Dear Remainer parliament: Now revoke Article 50 — if you dare Lionel Shriver. The transgender agenda could topple intersectionality Rod Liddle. Spectator competition winners: Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia , but the charge calls for four witnesses to make a case.

The Muslim world is more tolerant of homosexuality than you think

Arrests by the religious police are far more arbitrary. In a recent case they apprehended one man at a Jeddah shopping mall, suspecting he was gay from his tight jeans and fitted shirt.

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In Saudi Arabia, where men and women are strictly separated, there is some space for gay life. Gay men can go cruising -- a term for picking up partners -- and socialize in male-only sections of cafes and restaurants. In line with sex-segregated social norms, gay lovers can often spend intimate time together without arousing suspicion. But gays and lesbians in Saudi Arabia still need to accommodate the pressures of public life, in some cases pairing off to accommodate a freer lifestyle.

It's the perfect solution," says Samir, adding that he wouldn't mind a lesbian wife of his own. For Samir, the dozens of emerging Web forums for gay Arab men are a freer alternative to the offline Saudi society. I met him in one such forum, called Arab Gay Love, e-cruising for new friends and partners. Some of the users there surf with screen names that specify their sexual role: Web forums like arab-gay.

Using proxy servers men can get around the bans to the blocked sites, connecting with potential dates and building a knowledge base for gay life in the Arab world. One blog from Syria, largely considered a repressed society, details a tourist's guide to gay hangouts in Damascus and Aleppo. There are four hammams in Damascus where you could play safely, but always be careful," he writes, then listing the most popular "hammams," or bath houses.

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He goes on to name the Safwan Hotel in Lattakia as "the most famous gay-friendly hotel in the region. From his home in Mecca, Samir can surf the web forums and Facebook groups that connect him to the gay Arab world. But he does so with care, fearing that authorities will follow and flag gay activity online. If they have their eye on you, they can follow your every move," he says.

If Samir's approach seems paranoid, it's conditioned by horror stories of harsh crackdowns by Arab governments on gay life. In Egypt, where police have systematically arrested and tortured suspected homosexuals, vice squads have logged on to chat rooms posing as gay men. Forming friendships under a false identity, the police set up an expected first date, then meet their "suspects" with a brutal arrest.

I was dragged, almost carried to the police car The vice squad's practice of covertly hunting gay men in chat rooms cooled once the teeming gay Internet scene in Egypt slowed down.

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Fear and suspicion effectively shut down one of gay Egypt's few free outlets. At one point online entrapment was yielding one arrest per week, according to Human Rights Watch. English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Not Enabled. No customer reviews.

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What speaking Arabic at a gay sauna in London made me realise about my identity | The Independent

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