Indonesian City Exposed for Using Exorcisms as Gay Conversion Therapy
The city of Padang, Indonesia is using exorcism to “cure” suspected gay and transgender people of their “mental illness” that allegedly pushes them to engage in “immoral” behaviors.
Mayor Mahyeldi Ansharullah of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province, works with the Civil Service Police (Satpol PP) to implement the so-called “psychological rehabilitation.”
While homosexuality is not illegal in Padang, at least 18 LBGT couples have already been apprehended for rehab which culminates in exorcisms that supposedly drives “malevolent female genies” called djinn away.
The “treatment” is known as ruqyah. During a session, practitioners read verses from the Quran, perform prayers, pummell subjects and bathe them in “holy water,” a former “patient” told New Naratif.
Islamic cleric Aris Fathoni has been practicing ruqyah for 15 years. He stressed the treatment’s merits in an interview with BBC Indonesia.
“If the ruqyah [patient] reacts, it means that it has something to do with the genie. The reaction is sometimes dizzy, sometimes nauseous, and sometimes it may act like a bencong [an Indonesian term for a male homosexual or transgender woman], like a man but graceful, that’s the term.”
“Those are some cases where we have encountered things like that. [After a ruqyah] the genie comes out of the patient’s body.”
Following treatment, “suspects” are released into their homes but remain subject to regular visitations from Social Services. Apparently, the goal is to ensure that they do not repeat “problematic” behaviors.
Mayor Ansharullah’s government partnered with civil service organizations, most being strict Islamic groups, in delivering ruqyah to suspects.
“Here we have prepared ruqyah experts for them [the Social Services Agency],” Lucky Abdul Hayyi, a member of one such organization, told Covesia News.
“Usually men are possessed by female genies, this is what many of us encounter with LGBT actors. In addition, the transvestites will also be fostered by the TNI [Indonesian National Armed Forces].”
The LGBT crackdowns in parts of Indonesia have been at the center of international scrutiny over human rights violations in recent weeks. The global medical community has also criticized the Indonesian Psychiatric Association for classifying homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism as mental disorders.
Commenting on the issue, Dr. Ryu Hasan, a neurologist, pointed out that sexual orientation is encoded in the brain of each individual. “Basically, humans can be omnisexual. So there are males who are feminine, but they are heterosexual. Then there are men who are macho, but they are homosexual.”