02 October 2010

MUI and the Q Film Festival...

The MUI, the Indonesian Ulema Council, is always good for coming up with creative ways to characterise all manner of things, but let's face it human rights is not one of their fortes. So, it was mildly amusing to read that the MUI has decided that its position for opposing the Q film festival being held in Jakarta is that homosexuality is a breach of human rights.

The Q film festival is Asia's largest gay and lesbian film festival. The fact that it is being held in Indonesia is a victory for Indonesian gay and lesbian activists and for moderate Islam. Nevertheless, there are always those hard-liners who cannot accept nor tolerate difference. These people are not only the fanatics of the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) but also the upstanding interpreters of God's words at the MUI.

The rest of the MUI argument is that the French, German and Japanese governments are violating Indonesia's sovereignty by allowing gays and lesbians to screen films using their facilities. According to the MUI, homosexuality is just not the Indonesian way, it is not culturally acceptable, and besides all of these countries call themselves defenders of human rights but actively engage in permitting the abuse of human rights by tolerating homosexuality.

Aside from not being culturally acceptable in Indonesia, the MUI also makes the point that homosexuality is not tolerated in Islam either. But, most Indonesians would know this already in light of Tifatul Sembiring's recent tweets and his quoting of some relevant Sura. Yet, I can think of a few places where the practice of Islam is less moderate than in Indonesia but seems to be tolerated in the turning of a blind eye sense. Maybe, Ma'ruf should watch The Kite Runner, he might learn a thing or two about life.

Yes, if you are shaking your head and wondering whatever are they talking about, then you are not alone.

However, head shaking aside. The argument that homosexuality is a violation of human rights deserves a second look because it is an argument that I have not heard before. It is also an argument that I had to think about in order to get my head around it. After all, I figured that if we are all children of God then we are products of God and as such will be responsible to her (or him) come judgment day. But, it would seem, according to Ma'ruf Amin of the MUI, argues that homosexuality is a breach of human rights because God gave rights to men and women to marry each other, but not to men to marry men or women to marry other women.

Uh huh, now I get it, gay marriage is forbidden in Islam. Although, I am not a big fan of Wikipedia as an authoritative source of information, it is worth a read because it can quite often point one towards more authoritative sources. However, this Wikipedia entry on homosexuality in Islam is worth a read, particularly the part about the history  of homosexuality.


H. Nizam said...

Hi Rob,
Is there any major religion in the world that accept homosexual and lesbian?
Although I do not agree that homosex breaches human rights, but I think that as an official Islamic organization MUI may decide whatever they think best to protect morality of its disciples.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Harry...

The post is not whether there is any major religion that accepts homosexuality or lesbianism.

The post is about the sustainability of the argument that homosexuality is a breach of human rights.

The MUI might be the peak body in the Indonesian scene, but it hardly has any claim to authority or legitimacy in any other Muslim country. This is a quite different scenario from, say, The Vatican.

Maybe the MUI and the FPI can address the issue of overt homo-erotic literature that exists in the history of Islam or the homosexual elements of cultural practice in some predominantly Muslim nations? Within the context of protecting the morality of their Indonesian disciples, of course!


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