Mixed Views on Ban

April 8, 2012

PETALING JAYA: Controversy surrounding Seksualiti Merdeka has escalated despite its ban.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the wing’s members were uncomfortable and disturbed by the festival.

“I think there should be room for dialogue, especially on issues of harassment and discrimination against sexual minorities. But the notion of an open festival is too much for our members,” he said.

“Granted, it has happened in previous years but no one was aware of it. Now that it has become a public issue, my members feel that it is something against the mainstream mores of Malaysia.”

Umno Youth community complaints bureau chief Datuk Muhammad Khairun Aseh urged scholars of all religions to hold a meeting and come to a consensus on their stand on same-sex relationships.

“I fear this festival is inappropriate and can negatively affect society,” he said.

However, Sisters in Islam (SIS) said the ban conveyed a pattern of censorship that silenced freedom of expression in Malaysia.

Criticising the ban, SIS said it disagreed with the method enforced by the police to stifle the idealogy advocated by Seksualiti Merdeka.

“While we understand that there are Muslims opposed to ideas of gender and sexual diversity, as a Muslim women’s organisation, SIS disagrees with the methods used to stifle these ideas.

“We regret that Seksualiti Merde-ka has fallen prey to the same kind of state intimidation and harassment.”

Islamic Renaissance Front chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa stressed that there should be no discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, irrespective of race and religion.

“Every citizen has the right to express his or her conviction without fear,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Farouk, who stressed that this was his personal view, said that an individual’s right should be respected where there was disagreement on issues relating to morality.

Selangor Gerakan Youth deputy secretary-general Stephen Doss said the Federal Constitution did not restrict Seksualiti Merdeka organisers from holding the festival.

Lawyer Edward Bon said he was disappointed with the ban because the festival was purely a public awareness forum that highlighted issues of minority groups.

“It poses no threat to public safety or morality,” he said.

In Kota Baru, PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said such a movement was against the norms of any religion.

“All religious faiths are against homosexuality and the Government must put a stop to it immediately.

“There is no such thing as complete freedom in the name of human rights because freedom of expression also comes with conditions.

“And if human rights means homosexuality should be allowed, we might as well have the right to steal, rob or murder people,” he told reporters after handing over cash incentives to the Kelantan football players and officials at the State Secretary complex here yesterday.

Source: The Star