Indonesia says there’s ‘no room’ for an LGBT movement in the Muslim-majority country

Indonesia says there’s ‘no room’ for an LGBT movement in the Muslim-majority country

It’s not something liberals like to ponder, but two of their protected classes — gays and Muslims — just can’t get along. More properly speaking, Islam finds homosexuality sinful. So much so that Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has officially declared that there is “no room” for LGBTs.

ABC Australia reports:

A wave of angry rhetoric directed at homosexuals earlier this year — including a call to ban them from university campuses — was the first time senior officials had publicly attacked the South-East Asian nation’s gay community, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.

Indonesia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens have long been targeted by vigilante Islamist groups.

But the community experienced an “immediate deterioration” in their rights following a condemnation from ministers and influential Islamic organisations over a two-month period, HRW said.

There have been stories in the past of clashes between the two groups, such as the incident in Toronto in 2014 when a Muslim barber refused to cut hair of a lesbian. The standoff may have been exacerbated by the woman’s demand that she be given a “man’s haircut.”

But the situation in Indonesia is a first. In February, Indonesia’s largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, announced that gay lifestyles are perverted and a desecration of human dignity.

In Aceh, the only Indonesian province that applies Islamic law, the local government urged business owners to refuse to hire gay citizens.

This could be a problem going forward with relations between the U.S. and Indonesia if Hillary Clinton is elected president in November. Her campaign website has a quote summarizing her position on LGBT rights:

There are still too many places where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans are targeted for harassment and violence. There are still too many young people out there feeling hopeless and alone.

But according to the State Department, of which Clinton was once head:

U.S.-Indonesia relations have taken on increasing importance. Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy, … is the tenth-largest economy in the world by purchasing power, and possesses the world’s greatest marine biodiversity and its second greatest terrestrial biodiversity.

What’s a liberal to do?

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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