Khadija Ahmed, a 32-year-old mother who owns what is thought to be Bahrain's first sex shop (discreetly known as "Khadija Fashion House"), was up in court on Monday, accused of insulting a customs officer during a dispute over the types of items she is allowed to import. The case was adjourned until September.
Interviewed in the Gulf Daily News, Mrs Ahmed says her shop is intended for married couples and makes a plausible argument that it is performing a public service:
"Infidelity is one of the main reasons couples get divorced and my store helps tackle that, because once the intimate relations of a couple become better, then they will work harder on their relationship.
"It's similar to marriage counselling, but concentrating on the sex lives of couples. New and exciting passion breaks the daily routine of married life."
There's often a knee-jerk reaction against this kind of thing in conservative Muslim societies, although historically Islam has tended to be far less squeamish than Christianity about the pleasures of sex. As far as I'm aware, her business is thoroughlyhalal, so long as it caters for married couples and keeps a fairly low profile.
An online "Muslim" sex shop was recently established in the Netherlands. There are also various "Christian sex shops" in the west, though Cath Elliott, in a recent article, wonders why "Christians or other people of faith feel the need to have their own, separate sex shops".
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 27 May 2010.