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Jakarta Post

In response to anti-LGBT fatwa, Jokowi urged to abolish laws targeting minorities

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, March 18 2015 | 09:58 pm

A rights activist is demanding President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo'€™s government declare its intention to abolish any laws that target minorities and to prosecute those who commit violence against them.

'€œA loud statement of support for the rights of Indonesia'€™s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) population would be an important place to start,'€ Human Rights Watch'€™s ( HRW ) deputy director for Asia division, Phelim Kine, said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

He made the statement in response to the Indonesian Ulema Council'€™s ( MUI ) statement, which stigmatized the LGBT population by declaring them '€œdeviant'€ and an affront to the '€œdignity of Indonesia.'€

In its recently issued fatwa, or religious edict, the council called for same-sex acts to be punished by caning, and in some instances, the death penalty. The fatwa considers homosexuality a curable disease and says homosexual acts "must be heavily punished.'€

Kine said the MUI'€™s intolerance and encouragement of prosecution of a minority group should come as no surprise.

'€œThe MUI issued a similarly dangerous fatwa in 2005 against the country'€™s Ahmadiyah community. That fatwa held that the Ahmadiyah, an Islamic revivalist movement, deviated from Quranic teachings. The government responded to that fatwa in 2008 by passing a nationwide anti-Ahmadiyah decree that bans the Ahmadiyah from proselytizing their faith,'€ he said.

Since then, he added, Islamist militants had repeatedly attacked the Ahmadiyah community, often with the passive or active involvement of government officials and security forces.

Kine said the MUI's anti-LGBT fatwa mirrored the bigotry of two bylaws passed by the Aceh provincial government in September 2014 that created new discriminatory offenses that did not exist in the criminal code ( KUHP ).

The bylaws extend sharia, or Islamic law, to non-Muslims, criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual acts as well as all zina ( sexual relations outside of marriage ). The criminal code permits as punishment up to 100 lashes and up to 100 months in prison for consensual same-sex sex acts, while zina violations carry a penalty of 100 lashes.

'€œThose bylaws and other laws drawn from discriminatory fatwas violate fundamental human rights guaranteed under core international human rights treaties to which Indonesia is party,'€ Kine said.( ebf )( ++++ )

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