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Malaysian university holds contest to convert gay students

Josh Jackman April 3, 2018
Participants pose for a photo during a 'Gay Pride' gathering in Seoul on July 15, 2017. Thousands of people celebrated gay rights with song, dance and a march in Seoul on July 15, amid rain and boisterous protests by conservative Christians. Religious South Koreans have been a loud fixture at the annual parade for years, holding a rival anti-homosexuality rally while trying to physically block the march. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

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A Malaysian university is holding a contest to find the best way to convert LGBT students.

Universiti Sains Malaysia, based on the island of Penang, has advertised the competition to students with three top prizes, the first of which includes your work being published on the university’s website.

The institution, whose name translates as University of Science, describes the contest as “a campaign to invite friends who have [a] disorder in [their] sexual orientation to return to their natural nature in a worthwhile way.”

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The competition comes just two months after a Malaysian newspaper published a checklist that provided guidance on “how to spot a gay”.

Participants are invited to submit a poster or short video for the event, whose theme is – seemingly without irony – “Help the LGBT groups”.

Authorities hope that the competition, which is organised by the Muslim Students’ Association and approved by the university, will help LGBT people to ‘return to Islam.’

(Facebook/universiti sains malaysia)

Abdul Hadi Radzi, a second-year English student at the university and one of the people running the event, told NBC News that his goal for the contest was “menyantuni LGBT,” which translates as “reach out to LGBT people”.

“We are trying to educate people,” he said.

“This is our view – to correct LGBT. Not to persecute. Not to condemn them.”

Participants march along a street during a 'Gay Pride' march in Seoul on July 15, 2017. Thousands of people celebrated gay rights with song, dance and a march in Seoul on July 15, amid rain and boisterous protests by conservative Christians. Religious South Koreans have been a loud fixture at the annual parade for years, holding a rival anti-homosexuality rally while trying to physically block the march.     / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES        (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
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He added: “We want to help. We love them.

“You don’t have a say about what the Qurʾan says, you have to adhere to it.”

Thilaga Sulathireh, who founded transgender advocacy group Justice for Sisters, said that the contest was just one example of a growing trend of attempts by authorities in the country to convert LGBT people through Islam.

Supporters of same-sex rights take selfies during a gay pride parade in Taipei on October 28, 2017.   Downtown Taipei was a sea of rainbow flags and glitzy costumes on October 28 as tens of thousands marched in Asia's largest gay pride parade, the first since Taiwan's top court ruled in favour of gay marriage. / AFP PHOTO / SAM YEH        (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)
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She said: “It’s not an isolated incident.

“It’s part of a series of anti-LGBT and state-sponsored things that are happening.”

One student at the university, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Nobody can touch religion here.

Nepali members of the LGBT community take part in a Gay Pride parade in Kathmandu on August 8, 2017. Scores of gays, lesbians, transvestites and transsexuals from across the country took part in the rally to spread their campaign for sexual rights in the country. In 2013 Nepal introduced citizenships with a third gender option and began issuing passports reflecting the same in 2015. / AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA        (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
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She said that her identity could leave her open to bullying and even expulsion, adding: “I worked really hard to get into this university.

“I really don’t want to get kicked out.”

Last year, it was revealed that the Malaysian government planned to launch a programme targeting trans women with ‘conversion’ therapy.

Participant Nae-Gyeol Song poses for a photo during a 'Gay Pride' gathering in Seoul on July 15, 2017. Thousands of people celebrated gay rights with song, dance and a march in Seoul on July 15, amid rain and boisterous protests by conservative Christians. Religious South Koreans have been a loud fixture at the annual parade for years, holding a rival anti-homosexuality rally while trying to physically block the march.     / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES        (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
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A government official confirmed the campaign, which he insisted would be voluntary.

Ghazali Taib, a Terengganu state official, said that the programme would allow trans women to “make a choice”.

“The government’s concept is not [to] force. [We] give them a path to make the best choices for their lives,” he added.

More: Asia, Asia, Education, Gay, gay conversion, Malaysia, Malaysia, University

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