The mayor of the city of Padang in Indonesia has said he is using the military (TNI) to hunt down LGBT+ people. Once captured, they are subjected to ‘conversion therapy and exorcisms’, in what they are called ‘coaching’.
Speaking in Central Jakarta on Tuesday, January 21, Ansharullah told Tirto: “We are coaching them with the TNI. Those [caught in] the operations that we have conducted, we develop and train them, we cultivate their nationalism, we develop their identity.”
Ansharullah has also said that he is using the help of Islamic scholars to perform ‘rugyah’, a form of exorcism, on the individuals. This is fuelled from a belief that LGBT+ people are possessed by ‘jinns’ (genies or demons).
“We also involve the ulema, because from the information we have received, the existence of LGBT or lesbians is because there is indeed the influence of jinns and demons, so we perform ruqyah to force them to leave,” he added.
LGBT+ Persecution Intensifies In Indonesia
The persecution of Indonesia’s LGBT+ community continues to intensify. In November, Indonesian police arrested ten ‘suspected lesbians’ after two of them were seen hugging in a photo shared on Facebook. The women were sent to an ‘education programme’ following the arrest.
Indonesia’s crackdown on LGBT+ people gained serious momentum in 2016. While homosexuality is not criminalised throughout a large part of Indonesia, LGBT+ people continue to face oppression as the influence of conservative Islamic groups rise. Certain parts of Indonesia are governed by Sharia law, and under this, homosexuality is illegal and punishable by flogging.
Two men were arrested in West Java for running a group on Facebook called ‘Facebook Gay Bandung Indonesia’. They were later charged with a ‘decency violation’.
Moreover, trans people in parts of Indonesia face serious persecution. In October last year, police arrested six people they believed to be trans in West Sumatra, while just this week police hosed down three trans people in public.
Most recently, the city of Depok in West Java announced illegal plans to restrict the movement of LGBT+ people which the National Commission of Human Rights has condemned.
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