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Indonesian minister contradicts himself on ’embrace’ of LGBT people

Joseph McCormick December 20, 2017

Grand Muhti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohamed (L) speaks to journalists next to Indonesian Minister of Religion Lukman Hakim Saifuddin (R) after a meeting in Jakarta on March 11, 2015.Australian Grand Muhti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed led a delegation of Islamic clerics from Australia in relation to their plea for mercy of the lives of two Australians on death row, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

An Indonesian minister has sent very mixed signals about the “embrace” of LGBT people.

In comments made on Monday, the country’s Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin appeared to suggest that attitudes might change in the country when it comes to LGBT people.

The country has in recent years been accused of persecuting its LGBT community through violence, arrests, and harbouring anti-LGBT attitudes.

He said that LGBT people should be “nurtured, not shunned”.

But he stopped short of endorsing acceptance of LGBT people, saying that “religious adherents” to “embrace and nurture” LGBT people through reacquaintance with religious teachings.

He also added that “there is no religion that tolerates LGBT action,” according to the Human Rights Watch.

The country has been seen to be cracking down on LGBT+ people, as earlier this year four people were arrested for posting photos online.

Indonesia also blocked GIFs on WhatsApp in an attempt to stop “obscene” images from being shared, including “gay photos”.

WhatsApp was given a 48-hour deadline to ensure that “obscene” GIFs were not available on the platform.

According to reports, the government responded to say that WhatsApp had complied with the request.

“We see now that they have done what we asked. Therefore we won’t block them,” the director general of Indonesia’s communication and informatics ministry Semuel Pangerpan.

The messaging platform relies on Giphy and Tenor to provide its GIF service.

But the problem apparently was with Tenor, which does not provide a filter for adult content.

Meanwhile, four gay men face up to 16 years in prison after being arrested for pictures they posted online.

The Indonesian men are suspected by the police of spreading gay pornography online, but seem to have been targeted simply because they enjoy BDSM.

A reader who contacted PinkNews said: “Today, my friend was put in jail in Indonesia for taking pictures when playing BDSM with his submissive.

(Facebook/Emirjkt Mastr)

“The picture doesn’t even have genitals in it. They think it’s porn because they simply don’t understand BDSM, and they hate gays.”

Police Brigadier General Fadil Imran said that he had arrested “perpetrators of dissemination of videos and photos of sexually immoral content with the classification of BDSM”.

He listed items which had been confiscated from the first pair arrested, two men aged 42 and 30, one of whom runs the Facebook page which police say has been spreading porn.

Police Brigadier General Fadil Imran (YouTube/mixproproduction29)

The official listed “straps, rubber whips, handcuffs, candles, iron chains, body vests, mouth masks, masks, body leather belts, chopsticks, and whip tools.

He said that from the other pair, authorities confiscated “clamp clothes, clothesline, dog chains, candles, baby oil and massage tools.”

Gay sex is legal in Indonesia, but authorities have repeatedly targeted LGBT people.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in the country approved a proposed bill which would outlaw ‘LGBT behaviours’ on television.

Police Brigadier General Fadil Imran (YouTube/mixproproduction29)

In Aceh, a region of the otherwise secular country which imposes Shariah law, two men were caned 83 times as a legal punishment for having gay sex.

The men were informed on by their neighbour, who took video footage.

The video shows vigilantes kicking, slapping and insulting the men.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23: Indonesian gay couple walk as arrive for caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Two Indonesian men walking to be caned for having gay sex (Getty)

The canings came a day after 141 men were arrested in the capital, Jakarta, for having a “gay sex party”.

And earlier in 2017, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a gay sauna.

They acted after members of the public reportedly complained that the building was being used for sex work.

More: aceh, alleged crime, anti lgbt, arrests, Asia, Asia, BDSM, Facebook, Gay, Homophobia, Indonesia, Indonesia, Law, police, porn

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