CAIRO — Two international rights groups called on Egyptian authorities Saturday to halt their crackdown on people suspected of homosexuality after the waving of the LGBT rainbow flag at a recent concert in Cairo.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also urged Egypt, a majority Muslim country of some 95 million people, to call off the anal examination of people detained on suspicion of homosexuality to determine whether they were engaged in same-sex sexual relations.

They said the practice amounted to torture and called it “abhorrent” and scientifically unsound.

Homosexuality is highly taboo in Egypt among Muslims and minority Christians alike, but it is not explicitly prohibited by law. Egypt regularly arrests gay men, with large police raids on private parties or locations such as public baths, restaurants and bars. In practice, they prosecute individuals under charges such as “immorality” and “debauchery.”

Egypt arrested at least seven people last week after footage of the rainbow flag raising surfaced on social media. The incident happened during a Sept. 22 concert by Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila, a jazzy, electro-Arabesque group whose lead singer is openly gay.

Most Egyptians see homosexuality as a practice that goes against nature and religion and insist that it’s a social disease exported by a decadent West. At home, most homosexuals keep their sexual orientation a secret known only to close friends, fearing social stigma.

Local fiction and films with homosexual characters are rare and typically accompanied by their share of controversy. Scenes involving sex or displays of affection between same-sex couples in foreign movies are censored.

The media, particularly celebrity hosts of TV talk shows, routinely feed on stories about the arrest of homosexuals, taking the high moral ground and inciting authorities to do more to “cleanse” the streets.

Both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch said in their Saturday statements that a total of 11 people had been arrested since the concert, held at an upscale mall in an eastern Cairo suburb.

Egypt should stop devoting state resources to hunting down people for their sexual orientation and instead focus on improving its rights record, said Human Rights Watch, alluding to the ongoing crackdown by authorities on Islamists and secular pro-democracy activists while slapping restrictions on street protests and free speech.