Major Islamic organizations are voicing their outrage over plans by the US to send a special envoy for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights in Indonesia.
The US Department of State recently put out a media note, announcing: "U.S. Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ Persons Jessica Stern will travel to Vietnam from November 28-December 2; the Philippines from December 3-6; and Indonesia from December 7-9. During her visits, Special Envoy Stern will meet with government officials and representatives from civil society to discuss human rights, including advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons."
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the highest clerical body in the nation, rejected and strongly condemned Stern's planned visit, adding that it would be offensive to Indonesian culture and religions.
"As a civilized and cultured nation, we are obliged to respect our guests. But we can't welcome guests whose intention is to destroy our ancestral values from our religions and traditions," MUI Deputy Chairman Anwar Abbas wrote in a statement on Thursday.
"LGBT behaviors are dangerous as they are anti-human and anti-humanitarianism. If we leave them be, they will lead to the destruction of the human race," he added, referring to the idea that homosexual couples can't reproduce.
The relatively moderate Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), one of Indonesia's – and the world's – largest Islamic organizations, said they would welcome the envoy in Indonesia as long as they do not promote LGBTQ+ rights and values in the country.
Even Commission VIII of the House of Parliament (DPR), which oversees matters related to culture and religion, called on the government to sternly reject the envoy.
This morning, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has yet to confirm the envoy's visit to Indonesia. Coconuts has reached out to the ministry's spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah for comment.
Jessica Stern was appointed by President Joe Biden as the US Special Envoy to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Persons in 2021. Stern had been a researcher at Human Rights Watch Stern and the recipient of numerous honors including from Attitude Magazine, Crain's New York Business, Gay City News, and the Metropolitan Community Church.