Religious extremists in positions of power?
In Malaysia, the Religious Affairs Minister caused a stir after he gave “full license” to Islamic authorities to arrest and “educate” transgender people. Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri announced via Facebook that he’d given the country’s religious police, a.k.a. called JAWI, “full licen(s)e to carry out its enforcement actions” against transgender people.
He similarly said that the authorities should subject transgender people to “religious education” in a bid to “return them to the right path”.
“Islam is a religion that wants to educate,” the Facebook post stated. “We will work towards coordinated efforts from all agencies under the religious affairs wing in the prime minister’s department.”
Local LGBTQIA organizations are, rightfully, calling out the minister’s hateful stance.
For instance, in a statement, SEED Malaysia stated that the minister’s bigoted comments would “fuel hatred” against the country’s transgender community. “The transgender community in Malaysia already face continued persecution by the state and broader society… The statement by Dr. Zulkifli and the threat of arrest will drive the transgender community further into hiding. This will deteriorate the communities’ access to basic rights even more.”
This is worth noting: Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, and it forbids homosexuality under its Islamic laws. The country’s secular laws also criminalize gay sex.