An opposition leader from Malaysia, Zahid Hamidi, believes that he knows the cause of the earthquake and tsunami that killed at least 2,000 and displaced almost 100,000 in Indonesia last month.
Inexplicably, Mr. Zahid has placed the blame squarely on the LGBTQ+ community, claiming that God’s wrath on them has caused the natural calamities to occur.
“If we look at the situation in Malaysia, we are concerned over the incident of the earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, recently, where it is believed more than 1,000 of them were involved in [LGBTQ+] activities,” Mr. Zahid asserted during Question Time, speaking to his co-members of parliament.
“But the whole area was destroyed as part of God’s punishment.”
He also said that Malaysia may also face the deadly consequences of divine wrath for the same reasons.
“I would like to ask, as part of Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) task, (for them) to implement the Mukhayyam outreach program to help the LGBT community, and other steps taken by government agencies and other states, and to state the effectiveness of such program so we can avoid similar punishment from God, including those who clearly reject the LGBT.”
UMNO leader Mr. Zahid has been charged with 45 counts of corruption-related criminal charges, causing some to wonder if perhaps he is making these statements to deflect from his legal troubles, or worse yet, is using the tragedy for his own political advantage.
Meanwhile, one of the ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, said that though the LGBTQ+ community may be a blight on Malaysia’s soul, the government doesn’t think it is the cause of divine anger.
He said, “In the issue of LGBT, although it is a problem here, it is still under control. I don’t think that it is as simple as that – that if we do something, we will earn God’s wrath.
What we need to do right now is to find ways to address the problem.”
Addressing the problem in this situation has some very dark implications. Islamic affairs agency Jakim has been running a program for the last 7 years to reach out to members of the LGBTQ+ community through religious leaders. The program has voluntary “treatment and recovery programs” to address an issue believed to be “infectious.”
Although Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, showed sympathy to the two lesbian women who were publicly caned last month, he has not been supportive of pro-LGBT reforms.