Saudi Arabia: Schools ‘ban tomboys and gays’

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly banned gays and tomboys from its schools citing efforts to tackle the two ‘phenomena’.

A report on Emirates 24/7 this morning says the The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has been called on to ensure implementation of new orders on homosexuality and girls who adopt masculine appearances.

The newspaper quotes the ‘Sharq’ Arabic language paper on the announcement: “Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tom boys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites.”

Neither paper states who issued the instruction but Emirates 24/7 said the students would be able to attend school only if they “stopped such practices”.

Saudi Arabia operates a system of Shari’ah law and punishes homosexuality with sentences of corporal and capital punishment.

In 2010, Saudi prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud was sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for murdering his assistant, Bandar Abdulaziz, in a luxury London hotel. The court heard the attack had a “sexual” element and that the prince had used male escorts in the past.

In early 2011, Stephen Comiskey, a 36-year-old British man, was arrested and beaten in Saudi Arabia by religious police when they discovered he was gay.

Threatened with beheading, he spent six months under a media blackout uncertain whether he would face the death penalty. He says he was tricked by religious police who sent him a text message pretending to be a friend. It was later suggested that Mr Comiskey had been targeted as revenge for the case of the gay prince convicted in the UK the previous year.