Top Islamic groups oppose US Special Envoy's promotion of LGBT rights in Indonesia

CNN Indonesia – December 2, 2022
Jessica Stern speaking at Build Studio in New York City – March 12, 2018 (CNN)

Jakarta – The chairperson of Nahdlatul Ulama's Central Board (PBNU), Ahmad Fahrurrozi, says he does not have a problem with a planned visit by the US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons, Jessica Stern, as long as she does not campaign for LGBTQI+ rights in Indonesia.

"The visit by the US government's special envoy for the fulfillment of LGBT rights can go ahead, as long as she does not conduct an LGBT campaign in Indonesia", said the man known by his friends as Gus Fahrur when speaking with CNN Indonesia on Thursday December 1.

Fahrurrozi is asking that Stern understand that LGBT is a socially deviant behaviour which is not in accordance with the norms, morals, ethics, religion and values of the Indonesian people.

He even alluded that LGBT behaviour can be interpreted as a deviation of human natural destiny (kodrat) and character (fitrah). Human beings, he said, were created as two sexes that are to be paired, namely men and women.

"This concept is regulated under Law Number 1/1974 on Marriage. Article 1 states that marriage is only between a man and a woman, so indirectly same-sex marriage conflicts with Indonesian law", said Fahrurrozi.

Stern is scheduled to visit Indonesia on December 7-9. She plans to meet with government officials and representatives of civil society organisations to discuss human rights, including promoting the human rights of LGBTQI+ people.

MUI opposes dangerous visit

Stern's visit to Indonesia has also been opposed by Indonesia's peak Islamic body the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI). "The MUI firmly rejects the visit by the special envoy", said MUI Deputy Chairperson Anwar Abbas in a statement on Thursday.

Abbas is of the view that it is inappropriate for Indonesia to receive a visitor who has been deemed to have the aim of destroying the glorious values of the religion and culture of the Indonesian nation.

This is because none of the teachings of the six religions which are acknowledged in Indonesia tolerate LGBTQI+ practices.

"LGBT behaviour is also very dangerous because it is anti-human and anti-humanity, because if this behaviour is allowed it could result in the extinction of the human community on the face of this earth", he said.

On the other hand, Abbas said that Islam teaches that the natural character of a man is to marry a woman, and vice-versa. "If a man marries a man or a woman marries a woman, then it is certain that they will not be able to give birth to offspring", he said. (rzr/DAL)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski based on two articles by CNN Indonesia. The original title of the lead article was "PBNU Larang Utusan Khusus AS Jessica Stern Kampanye LGBT di RI".]