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Advocacy group says anti-LGBT sermons at mosques will trigger even more persecution

CNN Indonesia - October 18, 2018

Jakarta – The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) advocacy group Arus Pelangi (Rainbow Current) has slammed the Cianjur regency government's call for mosques to present sermons on the dangers of LGBT and HIV/AIDS at Friday prayers on October 19.

Arus Pelangi activist Yuli Rustinawati said that the call will only increase the threat against LGBT groups in Indonesia.

"Even without the appeal LGBT people were already under threat, let alone with this appeal. The LGBT community is increasingly under threat and persecuted", said Yuli when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Thursday October 18.

Yuli admitted that she is concerned that the appeal will result in sermons or negative narratives that will trigger persecution against LGBT groups. Yet, said Yuli, LGBT people are also citizens who have rights that must be protected by the state.

"And most important of all, LGBT [people] are still human beings who have the same rights [as everybody else]", said Yuli.

The appeal for sermons on the dangers of LGHT and HIV/AIDS was contained in Cianjur Regency Circular Number 400/5368/Kesra on Presenting Friday Sermons on LGBT which was received by CNN Indonesia.

The government said that the appeal was issued because the number of LGBT people in Cianjur regency is significant based on a report by the Cianjur regency Aids Commission (KPA).

Arus Pelangi itself does not have data on the number of LGBT people in Cianjur, although Yuli asserted that the appeal is a form of homophobia and a negative preconception about LGBT people.

Yuli said that the Cianjur regency government is not the only party that is responsible for this discriminatory appeal because discriminative polices against the LGBT community have also been supported by the central government.

According to Yuli, the discriminative policies by the central government are embodied in articles in the Anti-Pornography Law (UU Anti Pornografi).

"The UU Pornografi views LGBT as a threat. There is also a moralistic narrative which always portrays LGBT in a bad light and a narrative that LGBT is a threat to the country", said Yuli.

Yuli said that Arus Pelangi is yet to issue an official response to the Cianjur regency government's appeal on anti-LGBT sermons at Friday prayers. According to Yuli the group will discuss the matter further before taking a position or deciding on what advocacy to take.

"We are still discussing it with others. What is the best way for us to view this. Because this is not the first time this has happened. It has happened in several other places", said Yuli. (wis)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Arus Pelangi: Khotbah Jumat Anti-LGBT Semakin Picu Persekusi.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181018111010-20-339441/arus-pelangi-khotbah-jumat-anti-lgbt-semakin-picu-persekusi.

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