Bahrainis demonstrate against prostitution, sale of alcohol

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 09:42:41 +0100

MANAMA, Bahrain - More than 300 demonstrators took to the capital
Thursday, urging the government to put a halt to prostitution and the
sale of alcohol, which they said were turning the Islamic kingdom into a
regional brothel.

"Bahrain is becoming a brothel of the Gulf," said Ebrahim, 34, marching
in the city's Exhibition Road, the hub of the entertainment industry
with bars and nightclubs alongside Western and other fast food
restaurants.
Many bars use entertainers from the Philippines, India, Lebanon, Poland
and Russia, luring visitors from around the Gulf. Women from Eastern
Europe and Southeast Asia often end up prostitutes.

"This is an Islamic country and such practices are un-Islamic and
unacceptable and it has to be stopped," said Ebrahim, who only wanted to
be identified by his first name.
The country's tourism has been on the rise as traffic on weekends is
crawling bumper-to-bumper with visitors from neighboring conservative
Saudi Arabia, lured by Bahrain's relaxed social climate.

Women can freely swim and sunbathe at hotels and liquor is sold at bars,
nightclubs and stores. Socializing between the sexes is unrestricted,
unlikely in Saudi Arabia.
Linked to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway, Bahrain has become a
close-to-home escape in the region dominated by strict Islamic
traditions. Westerners who work in Gulf nations — oil workers, diplomats
and business people — also use the island as a getaway.

"As a Muslim country, we are going against all the teachings of Islam,"
said a Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheik Mohammed Ali al-Ekri, who took part
in the hour-long demonstration.

"People are coming here for the wrong reasons and this is setting a bad
example for our future generation," said al-Ekri. "We ask the government
to ban these evil act."
Tourism accounts for more than 10 percent of Bahrain's dlrs 7 billion
gross domestic product. Most of the tourists come from Gulf states Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates

Source: AP

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