The Jakarta Globe reports:
The country’s LGBT community has long faced discrimination, and even physical violence. New to that list, though, is the threat of death sanctioned by the Indonesian Council of Ulema, or MUI, the country’s highest Islamic clerical body. On March 4, the MUI issued a fatwa, or edict, proposing punishments ranging from caning to the death penalty for individuals accused of homosexual acts. It also claims that homosexuality is a serious disease, but that like most other illnesses, it can be cured.
“It doesn’t matter that they love each other,” Hasanuddin A.F., the head of the MUI’s fatwa commission, said earlier this month when announcing the anti-LGBT edict. “The law still prohibits it. In Islamic law, it’s a sexual act that must be heavily punished. It would be bad if the government allows same-sex marriage.” The Indonesian government does not recognize same-sex marriage, but at the same time it does not criminalize homosexual acts. However, two local administrations have issued their own bylaws that treat such acts as crimes.
The council’s edict is not legally binding. Last year the Aceh province approved the punishment of 100 public lashings for those convicted of homosexuality. Aceh is the only region of Indonesia currently allowed to implement its own system of sharia law. (Tipped by JMG reader Dan)