First up, sex.
Sex is a big issue in the ME. Lets face it -the place is so totally uptight: No porn, sex toys are illegal (almost!), no sex outside marriage, no homosexuality, masturbation is haram, no sex education, no abortions, no legal prostitution, adult web sites blocked centrally for everybody, no topless or nudist beaches.... Its not dissimilar to the heart of the US Bible belt. Hell, in Saudi if you're a woman you can be sentenced to a good lashing for the 'crime' of being raped.
Thus, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that having sex on a public beach in the UAE, apparently after a cop has already warned you to move on, is a really dumb idea. The couple (Brits naturally), are incredibly still out on bail pending their appeal, but are now being faced with a counter appeal. UAE think 3 months in prison not enough, and want at least a year. Wow. The couple are of course exteremely fortunate they weren't on a Saudi or Iranian beach, but still, a year for a low quality drunken bonk. Ouch. It's probably just an attempt to get them to take the original 3 months and leave. Gulf News
Prosecutor seeks longer jail term for sex-on-beach couple
By Bassam Za'za', Senior Reporter
Published: October 27, 2008
Dubai: The British couple, who was convicted of indulging in sexual activity in public, might find themselves serving a longer jail term after the Public Prosecution appealed their initial verdict of a three-month imprisonment. ...
Meanwhile, in Eqypt...
the Gulf News reports on a couple who have been busted for organising swinger parties, although it looks like the problem is the Egyptians don't actually have a law making it illegal for a group of married adults to have consensual sex with one another in private, so they are talking about using anti-prostitution laws to give them 3 years. Ouch!
The story is quite salacious and yet sort of down-at-home cute: hubby surfed some porn, came across an Iraqi Kurdish guy who was into swinging there, and convinced the wife to give it a try. She went on to get their friends into it too! Awesome.
'Egyptian police snooping on couples'
By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
Published: October 27, 2008
Cairo: Egyptians have reacted with shock at the country's first known case of wife-swap involving married couples.
Earlier this week, police arrested the couple, using the pseudonyms Magdy and Samira, who had allegedly set up a wife-swapping club via the internet. A total of 44 married couples were alleged to be members of the club, according to security sources.
The two main suspects, confessed in questioning to having organised orgies in their apartment in Giza, south of Cairo, the sources added.
"I stumbled on a website on wife swap run by a Jewish Kurd in northern Iraq, who explained the idea to me and encouraged me to promote it in Egypt through my own website. I suggested the idea to my wife, who liked it," he added. They have two children. The husband told prosecutors he had convinced his wife, a 37-year-old Arabic teacher, of the idea of "a swinger lifestyle as a form of physical recreating between consenting married couples".
"My wife and I began telling our close married friends and acquaintances about it and many of them willingly attended at least five swinging parties we held in our home, as well as three orgies at other addresses," Magdy, the main defendant, was quoted as saying in investigations.
The couple and their accomplices could be charged with facilitating prostitution, which carries a sentence of up to three years in jail, under the Egyptian law.
Also in Egypt, a man who grabbed a woman's tits in the street got 3 years hard labour, but prosecution for such things is surpisingly a rare event in the ME considering the public taboo on matters sexual.
Egyptian Gets Jail for Sex Assault in Milestone Case
By JOSEPH MAYTON (Middle East Times)Published: October 22, 2008
Tuesday's court conviction of a groper is said to be a victory for women. "Women are freer to talk, and know that they are not alone, and [abuse against them] is not their fault," one women’s activist says.
CAIRO -- When Noha Rushdi Saleh went to a police station to press charges against a man who had repeatedly groped her on the street, she was turned away. The police said that if she wanted to file charges against the man she would have to bring him to the station herself. Saleh, 27, promptly returned to the scene and sat on the hood of the perpetrator's vehicle and argued with him until they went to a local station where he was charged with assault.
Her decision to press charges paid off Tuesday, when a Cairo court sentenced Sherif Goma'a to three years in prison with hard labor and fined him 5,001 Egyptian pounds ($895).
and later in the same article, mention of how mobs of Egyptian youths sometimes sexually attack women in the street en-mass. Bizarre.
...On Oct. 2 scores of young men and boys attacked women in the streets in a middle-class Cairo neighborhood. According to eyewitness accounts, around 150 male youths attacked female pedestrians and ripped at their clothes.
Women reported groping and inappropriate touching. Veiled women had their clothes torn off by the attackers. One who wears the niqab – the veil that covers the entire face – reported men grabbing at it in an attempt to reveal her face.
This was the country's worst sexual harassment incident since another mob attack in downtown Cairo on Oct. 24, 2006. But, unlike the 2006 assaults – when the Egyptian government and ministry of interior were in denial that the rampage even took place at all – the attacks earlier this month were met with speedy reaction from the local police. After receiving a phone call from the area, police converged on the mob scene in the Mohandiseen suburb and arrested dozens of youth. "The police actually arrested people," Ghozlan said. "It is the first time that the government is actually admitting that there is a problem."
For Ghozlan and Saleh the situation facing women in the country is unbearable. Women cannot walk outside without the fear of being harassed.