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Jakarta Post

Radical group threatens to close down LGBT seminar in Yogyakarta

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Wed, September 17, 2014   /  05:59 pm

A radical group has threatened to use force to close down a seminar on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues organized by Sanata Dharma University'€™s School of Psychology.

'€œWe have requested the seminar be cancelled. If not, we will cancel it by force,'€ Muhammad Fuad, leader of the Ka'€™abah Defender Movement, one of the elements grouped under the Islamic Society Forum (FUI), said on Wednesday.

He said he was worried that so-called academic freedom had been hijacked by some groups of people who wanted to inject the society with discourses on LGBT issues. He said the LGBT orientations should be viewed like a spreading disease that could harm Islamic values and the morals of society.

Sanata Dharma rector Johanes Eka Priyatma said he had been made aware of the threat, saying that the university would reconsider and cancel the seminar if it turned out that the seminar'€™s theme would hurt the feelings of some groups in town. 

'€œWe always have the option to cancel the seminar if we find out that it could hurt the feelings of some groups,'€ Johanes said on Wednesday.

However, he argued that the sole reason behind organizing this seminar was to provide a stage upon which to discuss LGBT issues from an academic perspective.

LBGT activist Renate Arisugiwa acknowledged his disappointment at the threat, saying that it wasn'€™t necessary as they would gather and discuss about topics like the rights of LGBT people who are often neglected in daily life.

'€œWe want to discuss problems that are often being experienced by LGBT people,'€ he said.

He also criticized the view that the LGBT orientations should be viewed as diseases, citing that the World Health Organization had not categorized them as diseases since the 1990s and Indonesia had ratified the same policy in 1993.

The director of the Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Yogyakarta branch, Samsuddin Nurseha, said the police should react to the threats by providing protection for both the seminar and its participants.

Sleman Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Ihsan Amin had refused to comment on this matter, giving as a reason that he was in the middle of a meeting. (dic)

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