Homosexuality is still taboo in the Arab countries. While clerics denounce it as a heinous sin, newspapers, reluctant to address it directly, talk cryptically of 'shameful acts' and 'deviant behaviour'. Despite growing acceptance of sexual diversity in many parts of the world, attitudes in the Middle East have been hardening against it. In this absorbing account, "Guardian" journalist Brian Whitaker paints a disturbing picture of people who live secretive, often fearful lives; of sons beaten and ostracised by their families or sent to be 'cured' by psychiatrists; of men imprisoned and flogged for 'behaving like women'; of others who have been jailed simply for trying to find love on the Internet. Amid all the talk of reform in the Middle East, homosexuality is one issue that almost everyone in the region would prefer to ignore. Deeply informed and engagingly written, "Unspeakable Love" draws long overdue attention to this crucial subject.
Brian Whitaker is Middle East editor of The Guardian newspaper. He has travelled widely in the region and has a degree in Arabic studies from Westminster University in London. He has a website devoted to Arab culture and politics (www.al-bab.com).