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Jakim must prove sincerity towards LGBTs, says Siti Kasim

 | June 19, 2017

This follows Jakim's statement on FB that it never agrees with discrimination and bullying against the community.

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PETALING JAYA: Activist Siti Kasim has called on the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to demonstrate its sincerity in claiming to be opposed to discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

“Don’t just talk, because talk is cheap,” the lawyer said today.

“Show your actions in stopping persecutions against the ‘mak nyah’ (transgenders) for being what they are,” she told FMT.

She said this in response to Jakim director-general Othman Mustapha’s remarks in a Facebook posting earlier today that Jakim had never agreed with discrimination and bullying against LGBT individuals.

“The act of labelling, condemning, insulting and demeaning them can be considered extreme and going beyond the limits,” he said.

“Such behaviour runs counter to the community spirit where emphasis is placed on an approach to give advice.”

Othman said Jakim tried to be objective by not victimising or punishing them.

“Anyone in the community can join any of Jakim’s programmes to ‘improve their lives’.”

Siti said Jakim should portray itself as a religious body that promotes Islam as a religion of peace.

“They should show to the people that Islam is about love and hope, and not about hate and persecuting,” she said, adding that Jakim has the machinery to spread the proper ideology to the people.

Siti had in the past criticised the department for suggesting that a person’s sexual orientation can be changed with extensive religious training.

She accused it of “trying to play God”.

She had also gotten into an argument with Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) officers who raided a closed-door transgender event in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in April last year.

A video clip of her shouting at the officers, asking if they had a warrant to raid the event, went viral on social media.

Siti is expected to be charged on Friday with obstructing a public officer over the incident.

Meanwhile, transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub also applauded Othman’s statement that the religious body does not support discrimination.

However, Nisha pointed out programmes conducted by Jakim, such as the Mukhayyam programme, still “penalised” the LGBT community.

“The programme is a ‘corrective’ approach to change the transgenders’ identity and I do not condone that.”

Nisha added that no one should tell how a person should behave or who they should affiliate with.

Siti Kasim takes Jawi to court


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