» 03/27/2010, 00.00
Java, Conference of gays and lesbians blocked by Islamic extremists
A group of 60 Islamic extremists surrounded the hotel that hosted the event authorized by local authorities, demanding its cancellation. To ensure the safety of foreigners, the police asked the more than 200 participants to stay at the hotel until the end of disorder.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - An international conference of gays and lesbians, scheduled to run from 26 to 29 March in Surabaya (East Java) has been cancelled due to protests by a group of Muslim extremists, despite the approval of local authorities. The protest took place yesterday in front of the Grand Mercure Hotel in Surabaya hosting the meeting organized by the International Association of gay, lesbian and transgender (ILGA). The police have asked 200 participants to stay at the hotel until the conclusion of the unrest, especially to ensure the safety of foreigners. The conference should have been completed on 29 March. It is the first event for gays and lesbians to be held in Indonesia and the fourth in Asia.
"We are very sorry for the way things went - said Rafael Dakosta, Indonesian ILGA coordinator – we had already prepared everything when the police asked us to stop the conference for security reasons." Dakosta says he had several discussions with the protesters in an attempt to stop the protest and ensure the safety of foreign participants.
The members of ILGA had chosen Surayaba as the site of the event because of its atmosphere of tolerance. For over 30 years the city hosts a number of appointment houses (Dolly Bordellos) in the suburbs, authorized by the local government. In recent days, even some democratic party leaders defended the right of gays and lesbians to organize the meeting, saying the country's constitution allowed citizens to express their rights.
In recent days, the local Muslim community had already shown signs of discontent. Extremists of the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) and the Islamic Communication Forum (FUI) had in fact put pressure on the police for the cancellation of the event, considered an offense to the Islamic religion. "Gays and lesbians are moral terrorists - said Aziz Abdulrrahman a member of FPI - these people should be banned from the East Java province”.
East Kalimantan joins protest against radical Islamic FPI
Dayak tribal and activists are asking the government to ban the extremist group, because it constitutes "a threat to interfaith harmony." After Central Kalimantan and Jakarta, other Dayak tribes are supporting the campaign. Accessions also from Muslim youth movements, committed to the promotion of dialogue between faiths.
Suspects in Australian Embassy blast named
Threats made against Catholic school. Stop violence! It is against Islam, says convicted terrorist Ali Imron.
West Java: Islamic authorities shut down church, Christians celebrate in the street
Bogor mayor closes the church of an important local Christian group, banning all its activities. The faithful protest and take their faith to the streets. Rights groups issue official protest.
Porong mudflow: protesters want compensation
People are still waiting for compensation almost a year since the flow of hot mud in East Java covered eight villages over an area of some 600 hectares. Damages are estimated at about US$ 400 million. Victims are protesting in Surabaya in order to meet the authorities. Clashes with police lead to arrests.
Church slams daily human trafficking and authorities’ complicity
Batam and Nunukan are among the most affected areas. Here women are reduced into slavery or forced to change identity before being shipped off to prostitution markets in Malaysia and Singapore. Church urges police to make an unwavering commitment to fighting this problem.
Defeated on ice, but 'first' in history, joint Korean hockey team players hug
After losing to Sweden in their last match, the Korean team ends up in seventh place. Players burst into tears at their imminent separation. "Politicians made that executive decision [to have a joint team]. Our players and staff are the ones that made it work,” said the team’s proud Canadian coach. One South Korean athlete hopes the country is proud of them. "It was bigger than hockey."
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.