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West Java governor, Jokowi's campaign team okay with anti-LGBT sermons in mosques

CNN Indonesia - October 18, 2018

Bandung, CNN Indonesia – West Java Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum says that his office will not make an issue over the appeal by the Cianjur regency government calling on all mosques to present sermons on the dangers Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) during Friday prayers.

"As long as what is said is for the good of the religious community, for the benefit of the religious community, for the improvement of the religious community, there's no problem with that being said in mosques", said Ulum at the Gedung Sate building (governor's office) in Bandung city on Thursday October 18.

But it should not just be on the dangers of LGBT, said Ulum. The speeches given at mosques should also address social ills which are commonly discussed in the context of providing religious views.

"We shouldn't be taboo about speaking about things other than religion in mosques. Mosques function as places for mahdhoh and ghoiru mahdhoh [subjects not directly related to religious worship]", said the former Tasikmalaya regent and United Development Party (PPP) politician.

"But it would be best that if what is conveyed is related to religion or religious obligations, but [sermons] which sow disunity or debase one group against another group, they're not allowed", he added.

Ulum did however admit that he agrees with the Cianjur government's appeal and hopes that the sermons can be part of communicating various aspects of the government's program.

Widodo election campaign team okay with anti-LGBT sermons

Speaking separately, the deputy chairperson of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and vice presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin's election campaign team (TKN), Abdul Kadir Karding, said he supports the Cianjur government's call for anti-LGBT sermons at Friday prayers.

"The regent proposed this in the sense of religious outreach, yes so it's no problem. I support it", said Karding at the Cemara House, a community-based counseling organisation for drug addicts and people living with HIV/AIDS in Jakarta, on Thursday October 16.

Karding believes that the measures taken by the Cianjur regent are correct because all religious teachings prohibit LGBT and it is extremely dangerous for society.

He emphasised that LGBT behaviour itself does not emerged naturally in a person but is a sexual abnormality which arises as a result of environmental factors and daily social intercourse. "LGBT is indeed unnatural. It is a disease, because of the environment, social intercourse, and is forbidden by religion", he said.

Karding also admitted that protection for minority groups, particularly the LGBT community in Indonesia, is still a dilemma. He suggests that the government draft policies that can embrace as well as treat social groups from the LGBT community so that they can return to a normal life.

A similar view was expressed by TKN Widodo-Amin deputy director for election witnesses, Ahmad Baidowi, who said that LGBT is forbidden under Islam.

"The PPP once proposed a draft law against LGBT (RUU Anti LGBT) but in the end it has been incorporated into the [draft revisions to the] KUHP [Criminal Code] which is currently being deliberated by [the House of Representatives'] Commission III", he said.

Earlier this week, the Cianjur regency government issued Cianjur Regency Circular Number 400/5368/Kesra on Presenting Friday Sermons on LGBT.

In the circular, the government said that there are a significant number of LGBT people in Cianjur regency based on a report by the Cianjur Aids Commission (KPA). Based on this, the regency government has asked that sermons be given on the dangers of LGBT and HIV/AIDS at Friday prayers this October 19.

The circular was signed by Cianjur Deputy Regent Herman Suherman in the name of Cianjur Regent Irvan Rivano Muchtar and dated October 15.

Role of the family and the spread of HIV

West Java KPA secretariat head Iman Tedja Rachmana meanwhile said that family vigilance must be improved in order to prevent LGBT spreading in society. According to Rachmana, the role of the family is very significant because whatever the other factors, it is a bulwark against LGBT.

"LGBT groups do indeed exist in society but they must be dealt with correctly. By embracing and educating them. Socialisation should not just about how this group is immoral, that they must be scorched from the earth, not like that", he said.

According to Rachmana the KPA's role is not dealing with cases of LGBT. But if it is seen in terms of the spread of HIV-AIDS then the KPA has a role in restoring them in an integrated manner.

He explained that in principle, LGBT is in conflict with religious values and the identity and religious culture of the Indonesian nation. It is more correct to view LGBT, he said, as an abnormality and social problem which needs to be dealt with correctly and comprehensively.

"If society doesn't agree with the existence of LGBT, that's not a problem. Our religion forbids it, yes. But we do not yet have the legal instruments (to regulate LBGT) and because of this the approach has to be mid-way. A good step is to begin with parents speaking to their children (communicating)", explained Rachmana.

In relation to HIV, Rachmana explained that it is not just the risk for LGBT people, but also for heterosexuals. Based on this, said Rachmana, the war has to be on sexual behaviour, not just LGBT as an identity.

"Certainly it is true that LGBT is one of the risk factors, certainly it is true that there is a large number [HIV/AIDS infected LBGT people], but the other figure (heterosexual) is higher", he explained.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was Wagub Jabar Dukung Seruan Khotbah Jumat Tolak LGBT di Cianjur.]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181018191224-20-339636/wagub-jabar-dukung-seruan-khotbah-jumat-tolak-lgbt-di-cianjur.

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