LGBTIQ people in Indonesia are undergoing religious “exorcisms” as a form of “gay conversion” therapy in a bid to cure their “demonic” homosexuality.
The Islamic exorcisms, known as “ruqyah”, are being used in parts of Indonesia to cure various physical and mental illnesses. The rituals are televised by an Indonesian TV program of the same name.
One episode showed an allegedly gay man undergoing the ritual (pictured), and he can be seen crying, screaming and shaking as an Islamic cleric reads verses from the Quran, ABC News reported.
The exorcisms are based on the belief that homosexuality is triggered by supernatural and demonic influences known as “djinn”, which clerics say can be cured through a ruqyah to expel the spirits.
Police in Padang recently apprehended 18 couples – including lesbian women and transgender people – for “psychological support and rehabilitation,” the BBC reported.
Padang Mayor Mahyeldi Ansharullah ordered the crackdown on LGBTIQ people, and last month led an anti-LGBTIQ march through the city.
“To the perpetrators of sin, let them repent and those who protect them immediately be aware because they will face opposition from all parties and communities in Padang as well as security forces,” he reportedly told the march.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia but for the last three years, the country has been engulfed in “government-driven moral panic” over LGBTIQ people, according to human rights groups.
They’ve warned that regional Indonesian authorities have ramped up anti-LGBTI rhetoric and activities ahead of elections next year.
The country has seen a growing number of by-laws and local initiatives oppressing LGBTIQ people, including a by-law in the West Sumatran city of Pariaman to fine gay or transgender people for immoral behaviours or “disturbing public order”.
“Gay conversion” or “gay cure” therapy is the dangerous practice of attempting to “change” sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual means.
The practices have been discredited and widely condemned as dangerous by peak medical bodies around the world.