Post submitted by Karim, HRC's Global Engagement Intern
An Omani newspaper recently published an article that claimed that Oman was more tolerant of homosexuality than most other Middle Eastern countries. Homosexuality in Oman, like in many other Middle Eastern countries, is criminalized under the law. If an individual is caught engaging in homosexual conduct, that individual and all other parties involved can potentially be sentenced to up to three years in prison.
The Omani newspaper’s claims that Oman is a relatively tolerant country with regards to the LGBT community is not entirely false. In many Middle Eastern countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, homosexuality is still punished by hanging or stoning. Although anti-sodomy laws exist in Oman, they are largely ignored unless if they involve a “public scandal.” There is in fact a prominent underground gay scene in Oman, something that is largely absent from most Islamic societies.
Unfortunately, as soon as the newspaper article was published, the writer retracted the article and issued a formal apology announcing his regret for publishing the article and for offending the readers. Although Oman may be more tolerant than many of its neighbors, LGBT-affirming issues are still extremely taboo topics in the media.
To learn more about worldwide policies regarding LGBT people, visit www.hrc.org/issues/International.