In worrying news, the Malaysian government have launched a conversion therapy app that is available to download from the Google Play Store.
Called Hijrah Diri- Homoseksualiti, according to the description, the app includes “suggestions, ideas, explanations and interpretations” to help users “overcome the problem of homosexuality”.
The platform also provides access to an e-book that was written by an “ex-gay” Muslim man in which he describes how he “is confronted with some of the things that provoke him to commit this sin, and how to bear the burden of having committed same-sex sins in the past”.
Hijrah Diri ialah sebuah aplikasi inisiatif JAKIM bersama Yayasan Ihtimam Malaysia untuk bantu golongan LGBT kembali kepada fitrah.
Buat masa ini hanya ada di Google Play Store.
— JAKIM (@MyJAKIM) March 9, 2022
The Play Store rating for this deeply unsettling software is “E”, which means that the app is “suitable for all ages”.
This app is concerning on all levels but especially since LGBTQ+ people in Malaysia face execution, torture and decades in prison for being themselves.
Idris Ahmad, the minister for the Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) announced his intentions to strengthen the laws against LBGTQ+ people by setting up a task force.
He stated in January 2021 that “We need to strengthen existing laws as LGBTQ+ activists and icons are promoting a toxic lifestyle openly through social media”.
The app has thankfully received a colossal amount of backlash since its launch, with reviews stating: “This app is a government sponsored LGBTQ+ religious conversion therapy tool”.
Another review asked “Why does an e-book need to access location, storage, camera, microphone? You guys trying to track gay people?”
However, with all the negative reactions Hijrah Diri- Homoseksualiti has received, the app is still available to download from Google despite many users who “believe bigoted and hateful software such as this app has no place in the Google Play Store, or anywhere online”.
This is not the first time that a horrific anti-LGBTQ+ practice like this has been promoted in Malaysia. In 2018, a Malaysian official claimed that conversion therapy ‘cured 1500 people’.
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