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JAKARTA, Indonesia — In early March, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) – the highest Islamic authority in the most populous Muslim nation in the world – released a fatwa (religious edict) on homosexuality.
MUI said homosexual acts were “vile” and deserved to be punished with the death penalty. (READ: Gay Indonesia soal fatwa mati: MUI ketinggalan zaman)
A fatwa is not legally binding and therefore not enforceable in Indonesia, but as the LGBT community in the country has frequently been targeted by hard-line groups in the past, will MUI’s edict make their lives more difficult?
We asked one member of the Indonesian LGBT community what he thinks about all this.
Meet Bhimanto Suwastoyo. The 59-year-old is one of the not-so-many openly gay guys Indonesia has. He is also one of the most respected journalists in the country, and is now the head of news services at BeritaSatu Media.
Bhimanto and his partner, Steven, are a match made in heaven. They have a strong and loyal relationship and are raising a son (now a teenage boy) together.
Does MUI’s fatwa worry him? Not really. He says such religious edicts no longer have any significant impact on our daily lives. Watch the video below to find out why:
So, how about you? What are your thoughts on the fatwa? Let us know in the comments or through @RapplerID!