Eight men were arrested by police for allegedly holding a “gay party” in Indonesia. Officers busted 14 men holding the party in two hotel rooms in Surabaya, the second biggest city in the country, around midnight on Sunday.
Some of the men were watching gay porn and performing “deviant sexual acts,” said Shinto Silitonga, Surabaya police’s head of detectives.
Of the 14 men, six were released and the Police named eight men as suspects and filed preliminary charges against them under Indonesia’s strict anti-pornography law.
Two of the eight arrested could face up to 15 years in jail for initiating and facilitating the event.
The Indonesian Police said that it was the first time they enforced the law and arrested gay people in the city.
For religious conservatives, both Christians and Muslims believe homosexual acts are sinful. But it is much more difficult to be openly gay in predominantly Islamic countries than Christian countries.
Indonesia, being the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country with 209.1M Muslims, has a culture that is anti-homosexuality.
Homosexuality in the Bible: Leviticus 20:13 (cf. 18:22) declares it abominable for a man to lie with another man as with a woman, and both partners are to be executed.
For Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike, the story of Sodom is central to the traditional condemnation of male homosexuality.
In the Hadith (thousands of stories reporting the words and deeds of Muhammad and his companions), male homosexual acts is apparently condemned. The Qur’an (4:16) demands unspecified punishment for men guilty of lewdness together unless they repent.
A few Hadith also warn women against seeing or touching each other when naked.
However, there is a perspective that is inevitably more common among believers concerned with human rights, influenced by gender theory, and trained in contextual and holistic methods of interpretation.
Christian gays have had to work hard for recognition among fellow-believers; their Muslim counterparts, however, are just beginning to go through the struggle.