Rights / Gender
Indonesia and Gay rights: As open as never

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 06 Jul 2017

Indonesia and Gay rights: As open as never
New Delhi, Jul 6 (JEN): Indonesia keeps on hogging the limelight, apparently for the same reason, Gay rights.

The country keeps on oppressing its LGBTQ community, sometimes sentencing them for a public lashing, sometimes condemning coffee chains for being pro-gay.

The latest saga to emerge from the staunchly Muslim nation is a call from one of its religious leader, urging citizens to boycott Starbucks for ruining the nation's 'religious and cultural' core!

Starbucks, the acclaimed coffee chain's has been accused of being pro-gay, in a country that has actually legalised homosexuality.


Thankful. Inspired. Proud. 💚 #LoveisLove #PrideMonth #Pride2017

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The call has been made by Anwar Abbas of Muhammadiyah, the nation's second-largest Muslim organization.

"If Starbucks only does business, then fine. But don't bring ideology here," the leader was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Such a call shouldn't surprise others, especially if takes history into considerations.

In the month of May, earlier this year, two men were sentenced to public lashing after they were caught by anti-gay vigilantes during one of their love making sessions.

The incident took place in Aceh province, one of Indonesia's uber-conservative regions which still follows the Sharia law.

But discrimination against the LGBTQ community takes place every in other parts of the nation too.

Over the years, several published articles have reported the rise of police raids on the aforementioned community in Indonesia.

The government too have been active in supporting anti-gay campaign, though in a discreet manner.

Earlier, an Indonesia lawmaker was reported as saying that gay men "should me put to death", while another warned that formula milk and instant noodles "make babies gay".

The biggest upset however was a statement from the nation's Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, who equated LGBT rights movement to a 'proxy war' and said that 'it's more dangerous than nuclear warfare'.

Even activists have expressed their concern over the deteriorating state of LGBTQ affairs in the country.

"[Gay Indonesians] are exhausted and they're horrified," Kyle Knight, a Human Rights Watch researcher with the LGBT rights program was quoted as saying by CNN.

"Even the activists I know who started the very first organizations in the 1980s say they've never seen anything like this,' Knight added.

"This is fueled not just by bigotry and misunderstanding but by public officials ... I think that's the really scary thing as we go forward. It's fair game to go after LGBT people in Indonesia," he said.

In the month of May, the same time that the caning incident took place, West Java Police Chief Anton Charliyan told reporters that he would create a special force to crack down on LGBTQ people, much to the community's chagrin (read helplessness).

"They will face the law and heavy social sanctions. They will not be accepted by society," the officer said.

The issue is not just restricted to religious fanatics and government top brass, it has spread among locals too.

Explaining his plight, Jonta Saragih, a university student said, "[I have] some good friends ... we started discussing these issues on social media, eventually some of them deleted me on Facebook. They said we are not friends anymore."

But the problem is not just Indonesia's, it's a common issue in most Islamic nations.

Islam considers homosexuality a sin and radical Islamic nations have made it a point to frown upon the LGBTQ community.

In one such incident, Saudi Arabia fined a school, Talaee Al-Noor school in Riyadh, for displaying “the emblem of the homosexuals” on its building.

The school was made to cough up 100,000 riyals ($26,650), while one its administrators was put behind bars, all because the rooftop parapet was painted with rainbow stripes.

In another such incident (also a loss of economy for the Chinese), Afghanistan had a craze for decorating cars with rainbow stickers.

It was a thriving market for the Chinese, who supplied the Afghans with the stickers.

But all was lost, as someone took up the issue and explained (read brainwashed) it to the natives, of how akin the stickers were to the LGBTQ community.

Does the Quran justify the hostile behaviour of Muslim people towards the LGBTQ community?

Though nothing is conclusive, Imam Daayiee Abdullah, who's a Muslim clerk and an openly Gay person, states, "There is nothing wrong with Quran. The problem is with how people have interpreted it."


Image: Internet wallpapers and screen grab