Archive for the 'fundamentalism' Category

Indonesia: Fatwa against SRS announced

July 29, 2010

A number of fatwas has recently been issued by the Indonesian Ulemas Forum (MUI) on a range of subjects, from the ‘correct’ praying direction [via CNN], civet coffee [via AFP], TV gossip shows [via AFP] – and, at a meeting of the MUI on Tuesday, sex reaffirmation surgery for trans people [via Spero News].

The Jakarta Globe quotes Ma’ruf Amin, head of the MUI’s fatwa body, as saying that enacting legislation based on Islamic values would address the “degradation of morality among Indonesia’s students”, even though he neglected to provide any evidence of any decline in morality in schools.

As the New York Times points out, the aim of this shift towards formalising fundamentalist views seems to be to provide a right wing minority with the figurative ammunition needed to attack anyone who attracts their ire:

While the council’s edicts are usually ignored, they can be cited by religious hard-liners to justify vigilante-style crackdowns on “un-Islamic” activities. It has recently issued a steady stream of edicts including bans on interfaith marriages, smoking and yoga.

In the light of my earlier post about attacks by members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) on transgender human rights workshops and HIV/AIDS seminars in West Java, this all seems to indicate, at best a muddying of the waters and at worst a worrying deterioration in the situation for transsexual people in Indonesia.

Ni’am Sholeh, deputy secretary of the MUI fatwa Commission, said that “Intentionally made changing of sex without proper scientific reason is morally not allowed. However, we recommended medical doctors to help people to make their genital more perfect We have issued this fatwa to implement sharia.” In Indonesia, shariah is not law and the fatwa is a religious ban, not a legal one. The Indonesian Supreme Court, in fact, allows sex changes. [via Asia News]

Ni’am Sholeh’s analysis fails in at least two ways: first, the implication that genital reconstruction surgery is carried out “without proper scientific reason” has no basis in any reality that I’m aware of. It wilfully ignores the existence of an internationally recognised body of medical evidence which long ago established the significance of these surgeries as part of a comprehensive process to help people minimise and manage their gender dissonance – as well as the fact that, in many countries the implementation of SRS is often governed, or at least guided, by WPATH’s Standards of Care. The second assertion, that the medical profession “help people to make their genital more perfect” is confusing. If your brain was expecting your genitalia to have an entirely different configuration, how would making what exists “more perfect” even be possible, much less desirable?

The worry is, of course, that religion is being used as a platform from which to marginalise and demonise transsexual people, in the process legitimising violent reactions to our existence as well as completely disregarding issues around our bodily autonomy and human rights.

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Previous posts about trans and intersex people in Indonesia:

Feeding the troll, part 2

July 17, 2010

this is what a feminist troll looks likeMy old friend Butterflywings – whose attempts at internet trolling I wrote about here – has submitted a couple of comments to my previous post. They have absolutely no relevance to that piece, of course, although in their own little way they’re really quite priceless, so I thought I’d share them here instead: transphobic hate speech of this calibre needs to put into the public domain so everyone can see it.

I’m not going to bother applying the pink sparklehammer of deconstruction to them; they speak for themselves. It is worth noting, though, that these are the words of a cis woman feminist. This, as they say, is what a feminist looks like.

Author : Butterflywings
E-mail : youthinkimtellingyou@yahoo.com
URL :
Comment:
Fuck you, little child. Your attempts to smear me all over the Internet are hilariously pathetic. You’re the one that hangs out in little cliques of people who agree with you.
Accuse me of trolling? Now I am. No point having a debate with morons, after all.

Author : Butterflywings
E-mail : likeintellingyou@hotmail.com
URL :
Comment:
You think you’re so great, don’t you? You realise everyone is laughing at you? I could demolish your pathetic attempt to argue against my arguments if I could be bothered, but frankly, posting links that agree with you…isn’t argument. Trannies are a bit thick, aren’t they.

It’s like waking up to find small piles of very smelly cat poo dotted around the place.

Time for some music, I think.

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Related post:

Indonesia: Fundamentalist group attacks transgender human rights workshop

May 13, 2010

Via email from Kamilia, Excecutive Director of Institut Pelangi Perempuan (Indonesian Youth Lesbian Center) comes the disturbing news of three recent attacks by members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) on transgender human rights workshops and HIV/AIDS seminars in West Java.

Dear all,

I just got an information, last night May 11, Islamic Defender Forum again attacked HIV/AIDS seminar in Bandung West Java. One of the participant wrote on mailing list said that they all fine at this moment and just stay in the hotel room for their safety. Within a month, it’s been 3 times they attacked LGBT groups in Indonesia.

The last incident happened several days ago in Depok West Java, transgender group hold a human rights workshop attacked by Islamic Defender Forum. it was actually organized by National Human Rights commission and one of the speaker is the commissioner, and they could not do anything at that time. It is too ironic even police asked the National Human Rights commission to leave the workshop. You can see this video of how fundamentalist groups attacked LGBT people on ILGA Asia conference in Surabaya Indonesia and Transgender group workshop in Depok West Java.

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMIrg-ILjD0

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDElPB_cjF8

Sass Rogando Sasot, who forwarded Kamilia’s email, adds:

According to the news:

Dozens of members of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) stormed a human rights training program intended for transgender individuals at a hotel in Depok, West Java.

The program, organized by the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM), had just begun when dozens of FPI members forced their way (past police) into the room.

The FPI is the same fundamentalist group that forced the cancellation of the ILGA-Asia Conference in March.

BBC profiles FPI in the same light as other radical groups in Indonesia.
Here’s the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/2333085.stm#islamic_defenders

For the news coverage about this incident, please visit:

  1. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/05/01/fpi-sabotages-transgender-workshop.html
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMIrg-ILjD0 –> this is the video of how FPI raided the workshop (as you will see the police just allowed it to happen!)