Malaysia’s religious affairs minister on Monday (8 October) warned Malaysians not to let the LGBTI community’s ‘extreme ideas dictate you’.
It was the latest comment from Malaysia’s government against the increasingly marginalized community.
LGBTI Malaysians have complained of deteriorating rights since a new government came to power earlier this year.
‘We can’t let these people dictate Malaysia, ladies and gentlemen. You cannot let them dictate you’ Minister in charge of religious affairs, Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa, said while discussing the LGBTI community, according to the Malay Mail.
‘The country would be in disaster if these extreme ideas dictate you, while you have the authority to say the right thing, and be brave to say. Then I believe this country can move forward’, he said.
He was talking to religious scholars and academics at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies. ‘This is the stand that we take, but we never shut the door [for them] to change,’ he added.
The Religious Affairs Minister went on to take credit for removing portraits of two LGBTI activists from a photography exhibition in Panang in August. At the time, he said ‘we do not support the promotion of LGBT culture in Malaysia’.
Beating up a marginalized community
Among those to speak out was Ambiga Sreenevasan, president of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam).
‘Do you know you endanger their lives and safety every time you attack them?’ Sreenevasan said on Twitter.
Enough of beating up on a marginalised community. Does it make you feel strong and powerful? Do you know you endanger their lives and safety every time you attack them? https://t.co/y8flevpe9d
— Ambiga Sreenevasan (@Ambiga_S) October 8, 2018
A columnist for the Malay Mail expressed a similar sentiment.
Hardline Muslims worrying abt LGBT ‘culture’.
LGBT worry about simpler things: like not getting beaten up/murdered/jailed/discriminated against.
How are LGBT a ‘danger’ again?
— Erna Mahyuni (@ernamh) October 8, 2018
Malaysia caned two women for attempting lesbian sex. Police also raided the oldest gay club in the country. What’s more, ministers and politicians have spoken out against the LGBTI community.
Kuala Lumpur-based PELANGI campaign asked after Mahathir’s recent comments: ‘How many more hate crime you want to be committed under your government?’