Gay sites such as gaydar.com can no longer be accessed from Bahrain as part of a government clampdown on internet pornography.

“I think a lot of expats will end up leaving now – they live here mainly because Bahrain is more liberal,” one local gay man told Gulf Daily News.

Others said that gays would be forced to meet in public and may be put in danger.

There has been some concern among the Bahraini authorities about homosexuality.

A session of Parliament in the Gulf state began last October with calls for a crackdown on gays.

Al Menbar MP Shaikh Mohammed Khalid Mohammed said:

“We have homosexual rates on the rise, with such people working in flower shops, massage parlours or barber’s salons.

“Sluts walk around residential neighbourhoods untouched.”

In April Parliament demanded that the Interior Ministry stop granting any residence permits to foreign homosexuals.

Bahrain is known as one of the more tolerant Muslim nations in the Middle East, and has recently undergone a period of political liberalisation.

However, homosexuality remains a crime, and the government has periodically deported expatriates because of their sexual orientation.

Bahrain only held its first elections in 2002, and since then politicians have mainly addressed themselves to “moral” issues such as banning female mannequins from shop windows and tackling the widespread problem of “sorcery.”