Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia
Religious leaders in the world’s most populous Muslim country have called for the execution of gays and lesbians.
According to The Independent, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country’s top Muslim clerical body, issued an edict condemning the country’s LGBT community earlier this month.
The fatwā, or religious edict, lays out severe punishment for those caught having consensual gay sex, including the death penalty.
The council, which is an independent government-funded organisation, has declared homosexuality to be a sinful disease that needs to be cured, under pain of execution, if necessary.
“Sodomy, homosexuals, gays and lesbians in Islamic law are forbidden and [it] is a vile act that is punishable by the death penalty,” explained the MUI’s Hasanuddin AF.
“It doesn’t matter that they love each other, [sharia] law still prohibits it. It would be bad if the government allows same-sex marriage,” he said.
Although the edict is not legally enforceable, it will only serve to further stigmatise and expose LGBT people to discrimination and possible violence in a country, in which 88% of the population identify as Muslim.
Phelim Kine, Deputy Director, Asia Division, at Human Rights Watch, accused the MUI of “intolerance and encouragement of prosecution of a minority population.”
Homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, except for Muslims in the Aceh province. The national government allowed the province to introduce a by-law through which Muslims found guilty of homosexuality face up to 100 lashes and up to 100 months in prison.
LGBT residents of the city of Palembang could also fall foul of a by-law that equates homosexuality with prostitution; mandating penalties such as fines and up to six months in prison.
“Those bylaws and other laws drawn from discriminatory fatwas violate fundamental human rights guaranteed under core international human rights treaties to which Indonesia is party,” noted Kine.
He urged the Indonesian government to “abolish any laws that target minority populations and prosecute those who commit violence against them.”