MUI: UNDP’s $8 million program to protect LGBT rights will destroy Indonesian culture

The “LGBT panic” in Indonesia continues. After pushing to get rid of “gay emoticons”, religious leaders and Indonesian politicians are now going after a much more serious target – an initiative by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aimed at protecting LGBT rights.

On Sunday, Tengku Zulkarnain, the secretary general of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), Indonesia’s top clerical body, declared that the UNDP’s “Being LGBTI in Asia” initiative would destroy Indonesian culture.

“We are not a primitive nation or a nation that does not have a culture. The values of the noble nation of Indonesia will be destroyed [by this program], our religious and cultural values,” Zulkarnain told Republika.

He justified his statement by repeating the same things most Indonesian leaders use to justify their hatred of LGBT individuals: that all religions reject LGBT individuals (not true) and that Indonesian culture reject all elements of LGBT (from a historical perspective, also not true).

“(If the UNDP funding is true) it means that they are deliberately seeking to destroy Indonesia in terms of religion and culture,” Zulkarnain said.

Chairman of House Commission VIII Saleh Partaonan Daulay echoed Zulkarnain’s comments, saying that the UNDP funds should not be directed towards Indonesia because all religions and cultures in Indonesia reject LGBT.

“The UNDP cannot equate Indonesia with other countries. Indonesia is special. Our religion and culture are very different. It should not to be confused with other countries,” the PAN politician told reporters on Saturday as quoted by Detik.

Saleh then urged the government to carefully oversee the UNDP initiative since it could cause “social unrest”.

It’s easy to see why this would become a hot button issue in the Indonesian media since it smacks of “foreign cultural imperialism”. But the UNDP’s program was actually started back in 2014, and somehow it was not an issue (and it certainly didn’t cause any social unrest) until the recent moral panic over gay rights made it one.

Religious and political leaders are also acting as if the UNDP’s funds are going towards some sort of “gay recruitment” program that has the goal of turning all of Indonesia’s kids gay.

As outlined on the official UNDP website, “The Being LGBTI in Asia” initiative is aimed at “advancing the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and reducing inequality and marginalization on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity”.

Specific goals of the initiative are to help LGBT individuals know their rights and have access to justice to report human rights violations.

So the UNDP’s program is simply aimed at protecting members of the LGBT community, who are among the most persecuted and marginalized in all of Indonesian society (and increasingly so) and who constantly face the threat of violence and discrimination.

As Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan said, LGBT individuals are still Indonesian citizens with equal rights under the law that must be protected. If MUI and the Indonesian politicians condemning the UNDP’s initiative want to say that LGBT individuals should have no rights and should not be given the protection afforded to them by the Indonesian constitution as Indonesian citizens, then just say that. But don’t pretend this is some kind of cultural imperialism.
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by Coconuts Jakarta
Source – Coconuts Jakarta