09/18/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA - ISLAM

Yogyakarta: Catholic university cancels seminar on homosexuality after Islamist threats

Mathias Hariyadi
The Sanata Dharma (Usd) psychology department was to hold a meeting on the theme: "LGBTI: We are different, we are unique and we are One". The local branch of the Islamic Society Forum forced it to be cancelled because it "dishonors Islam." Islamic leader claims "deviant" sexual behavior is a "contagious virus".

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Giving into Islamic extremists, the Catholic University of Sanata Dharma (USD) in Yogyakarta, in the province of Central Java, has canceled a seminar on "different" sexual orientations, including homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender . The meeting promoted by the USD Faculty of Psychology on theme of the seminar "LGBTI: We are different, we are unique and we are One" was canceled in a hurry last night. Yesterday, the Islamic Society Forum (FUI) is the meeting went ahead its members would have "infiltrated" it to stop a discussion that would have "dishonored Islam".

Johanes Eka Priyatna, USD dean, confirmed the cancellation of the seminar, after a closed-door meeting with the police chief, professors and members of the student council.

Among Indonesian cities, Yogyakarta has always stood out as the most "tolerant" and home to dozens of universities of different inspirations. However, in recent years it has registered incidents of sectarian intolerance, the work of local Muslim extremist groups that have targeted the local Catholic and Protestant communities.

Among the many episodes, there was the attack on the Catholic leader Julius Felicianus last May; a week later, the extremists targeted a "house of prayer" belonging to a Protestant community; and again, at the end of June unidentified persons attacked the parish of the Sacred Heart shouting "Allah is great".

 Muhammad Fuad, head of the local branch of FUI, welcomed the cancellation of the seminar. He accuses the Catholic University of fomenting deviant sexual practices, which are not accepted by the people of Indonesia. "Deviant sexual behaviors are contagious - says the Islamic leader - and if we do not stop this 'virus', it is sure that one day gays and lesbians will claim equal rights and ask to see same-sex marriage recognized."

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, where Catholics are 3 per cent of the population, is becoming as one of the main centres of Islamic activism in the Asia-Pacific region.  As AsiaNews recently reported, fundamentalist movements and local Muslim leaders have found inspiration in the exploits of Sunni fighters in Syria and Iraq and plan to support the struggle for the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, even in Asia.

 

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