Indonesia mayor orders exorcism of LGBT people

Mahyeldi Ansarullah (Pic: Ministry of Home Affairs)

The mayor of the city of Padang in Indonesia has ordered the army to round up gay people so that they can be exorcised or “guided” into becoming straight.

According to local news site Tirto, Mayor Mahyeldi Ansarullah has called in the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) to conduct a search operation to identify and arrest people suspected of being LGBT.

Speaking in Central Jakarta, Mahyeldi claimed that being LGBT was a “disease” that could be caused by the environment and economic factors.

The well-known politician, who in November led thousands in a march to protest against LGBT people, also believes that demon possession can cause individuals to become LGBT.

“We also involve the ulamas (religious scholars), because in the information we get, the existence of LGBT is because there is indeed the influence of jinn (spirits or demons), devils, so we are exorcising them to leave the person,” said Mahyeldi.

The deeply delusional mayor further aims to “minimise the birth of LGBT” by making sure that children behave according to their assigned gender.

“So far, we have educational activities that are wrong in the family. He is a boy, but given a female toy, given a girl’s clothes, or vice versa,” Mahyeldi said. He added that men in Indonesia should not dance elegantly and that women should not be elevated to the same level as men in politics.

He admitted, however, that apart from his efforts to “correct” LGBT people through “guidance” the law in the region did not allow him to jail or impose sanctions against them.

Homosexuality is technically legal in most of Indonesia, except in Aceh, where local penalties for Muslims in the province include public floggings and fines.

Over the last few years, however, Indonesia as a whole has dramatically reversed its general tolerance towards LGBT people, taking on a more radical Islamic approach to sexuality and gender identity.

LGBT people are routinely discriminated against, abused and arrested, often under the country’s anti-pornography laws. Emboldened morality police are increasingly raiding private residences and businesses, while the government has moved to censor LGBT expression and representation in the media.

In February last year, the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said that the persecution of LGBT Indonesians was “seemingly for cynical political purposes”. He urged the country to “move forward – not backwards – on human rights and resist attempts to introduce new forms of discrimination…”

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