By Suad Hamada (Our correspondent)

16 February 2008

MANAMA — Homosexuals population is on the rise in Bahrain, according to lawmakers, who have been demanding of the government to take action in this regard.

The lawmakers warned of the nagative effects of the increase in the number of gays on the social stability in Bahrain.

They called through a proposal tabled by five MPs and approved by the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security to find mechanisms to tackle the issue at the earliest.

"Bahrain has witnessed lately increase in the number of homosexual Bahrainis and non-Bahrainis, especially Thai and Pilipino expatriates who are working in gents salons," MP Mohammed Khalid said.

He claimed that many male salons and massage parlours were promoting prostitution and warned of the increase in cases of sexually-transmitted diseases such as Aids if steps are not taken to curb the menace.

The government, through the Minister of Interior Lt-Gen. Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa denied the MPs’ accusations and said: "Individual cases do exist in Bahrain and they are dealt with according to the laws and regulations, but we cannot consider them as an issue that should be tackled."

The minister said that authorities have been deporting expatriates who violate the kingdom’s laws and religious values.