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Gay Conference Banned in Indonesia


A pan-Asian conference of gay activists scheduled for this weekend in East Java was ordered canceled Wednesday by Indonesian police, who said the event posed a threat to public order.

According to the Associated Press, national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Sulistyo Ishak claimed the conference, sponsored by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), would provoke conservative Muslims and prompt social unrest.

"The ban was issued by police in Surabaya, East Java's capital, where the three-day conference was to be held, he said," according to the AP. "The decision was made after considering public objections by Muslim groups and the Indonesian Ulema Council, an influential board of Muslim clerics, he said."

ILGA officials said they would appeal the decision, but religious leaders vowed to continue their opposition. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but attitudes vary from tolerance to outright rejection in the Muslim-majority country.

More than 150 activists representing 100 organizations in 16 Asian countries were scheduled to attend the conference, according to the AP.

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