Gay trips to Islamic countries anger Swiss Muslims
Swiss Muslim leaders have reacted angrily after it was reported that a travel agency specializing in holidays for gay people is organizing tours of Muslim countries.
Tour operator Pink Cloud Travel Service, a subsidiary of Kuoni that specializes in holidays for gay people, has started offering trips to destinations including the Maldives, southern Turkey, Indonesia and Morocco, according to the 20 Minuten daily.
"Many gays and lesbian people are afraid to travel to Muslim countries, and end up missing out on wonderful encounters," Pink Cloud’s CEO Raymond Fuhrer was quoted as saying by the paper.
According to the travel agency, which merged with the market leading Kuoni Group in 2008, such trips do not pose problems if the travelers maintain a “low profile,” avoiding holding hands in the street or in other public places. "The hotel staff, guides and drivers are specially trained. They don’t ask uncomfortable questions about spouses and children,” Fuhrer said.
The initiative was not particularly welcomed by Muslims in Switzerland.
"It is primarily a spiritual invasion of Western habits, that is rejected in Muslim countries," Hisham Maizar, president of the Swiss federation of Islamic organizations was quoted as saying. Even if the gay tourists promise to be discreet, "there are certainly enough other beautiful destinations where these people can go on vacation," he said.