Sixty-six Muslim schoolboys in Malaysia identified by teachers as effeminate have been sent to a special camp for counselling on masculine behaviour.

They are undergoing four days of religious and physical education.

An education official said the camp was meant to guide the boys back "to a proper path in life".

Gay rights groups have criticised the measure, saying it promotes homophobia in the Muslim-majority country where gay sex is still illegal.

The schoolboys allegedly displayed "feminine mannerisms" - though educators in the conservative state of Terengganu did not detail what they were, says the BBC's Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur.

State officials say that, if left unchecked, the students - aged between 13 and 17 - could end up gay or transsexual.

The state's education director, Razali Daud, said the students were invited to join the camp and were not compelled to do so.

"As educators, we have to do something about it before the young ones misunderstand people and reach the point of no return," he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Mr Razali says although homosexuals and transvestites exist in Malaysia, the authorities want to limit their number.


Gustavo Gutierrez

April 23rd

@ Abdullah, In Muslim maritime Southeast Asia, homosexuality and transgendered peoples are part of the culture. In Pakistan and India, both nations have recently moved to recognize a "third gender" persons. There is no mention in the Qur'an (God's revealed word) of the Prophet persecuting those who are gay. Many imams do not condemn people for same sex desire, they simply advice people to avoid sexual encounters through abstinence. That stance seems to be a compromise where sympathy is shown. Abdullah, "ex-gay" ministries exist in many churches in this country.

abdullah ramadan adam

April 20th

Al-hamdu Allah. I wish it was like this in America. According to the prophet s.a.w. gays should be thrown from the highest mountain. All religions are against being gay. The nation of Lot was destroyed because of being homo . I am glad that the Malaysian people are doing something about this.

Gibran Mahmud

April 20th

This is good, gay sex is a heinous sin in Islam. It doesn't matter if gay rights activists say they dislike it. Islam is completely opposed to this sin and anything should be done to stop it. Keep your immorality away from Indonesian kids. May Allah protect us from this heinous sin and from the morality of these despicable activists.

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