The city of Padang has detained 18 LGBT couples as part of a campaign to ‘cure’ LGBT people through religious exorcisms.
Police have so far targeted 10 lesbian partners and eight transgender couples for “psychological support and rehabilitation” in the capital city of West Sumatra, according to BBC Indonesia.
This involves subjecting the couples to exorcisms—known as a ruqyah—which often include physical violence and are based on the belief that homosexual and trans people suffer from mental illnesses caused by demonic spirits known as “djinn.”
It is believed that getting rid of these supernatural spirits by beating the victim with a broomstick and reading them holy verses will stop the person from being queer.
A TV show in the country called Ruqyah shows Islamic clerics performing exorcisms in order to ‘cure’ a variety of mental and physical ‘illnesses,’ including homosexuality and being trans.
In one episode, called “Djinn Interference in the Sodom Community,” a gay man is seen screaming, crying and shaking violently as he is read verses from the Quran, according to Australian outlet ABC.
The cleric justified the upsetting scenes by saying that he was cleansing the man’s body of a “female spirit” which had entered after a previous traumatic event.
The crackdown on LGBT people in Padang, a city of more than a million people, was ordered by Mayor Mahyeldi Ansharullah, who last month led an anti-LGBT march of thousands through the streets of Padang.
The mayor told attendees: “To the perpetrators of sin, let them repent and those who protect them immediately be aware because they will face opposition from all parties and communities in Padang as well as security forces.”
Photo: Ulet Ifansasti/Getty