Over the last few months, the LGBTI community in Indonesia has been attacked and vilified by the Government and those in the national parliament. The latest attack has come from a member of the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party, Tifatul Sembiring. Mr Sembiring is also Indonesia’s former Information and Communications Minister.
Mr Sembiring tweeted ‘ A saying of the Prophet: Whomever you find committing the acts pf the community of Lot (i.e. homosexuality) should be put to death.” The tweet generated a lot of criticism from those online in Indonesia accusing Mr Sembiring of spreading ISIS style rhetoric.
Mr Sembiring is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, he blamed immorality in Sumatra for earthquakes and natural disasters.
This latest attack on the LGBTI community in Indonesia follows on from a comment made by the countries Minister of Defence who stated that homosexuality was more dangerous than nuclear war and the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education who called on universities to ban LGBTI students. Indonesia’s leading psychiatric body also classified homosexuality and gender dysphoria and mental disorders that can be “cured”.
The strongest opposition against the recognition of LGBT rights in Indonesia has come from religious authorities and pressure groups, especially Islamic organisations. Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia or MUI) has made a statement, which stigmatised the LGBT population by declaring them “deviant” and an affront to the “dignity of Indonesia.”