Indonesia summons UK envoy over LGBT flag issue

Indonesia summons UK envoy over LGBT flag issue

This file photo taken on June 25, 2021 shows the rainbow flag hanging next to the UK national flag over the entrance to the British Embassy in Moscow. ALEXANDER NEMENOV AFP JAKARTA- Indonesia summoned Britain's ambassador on Monday to explain the raising of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender flag at its embassy, and urged foreign missions to respect local sensitivities after a backlash among conservatives.

Unless there is a sharia-ruled province of Aceh, homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, although it is generally considered taboo.

The rainbow LGBT flag was flown on May 17 at the country's embassy in Jakarta to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, according to an Instagram post by the country's embassy.

Alumni 212 Brotherhood, an influential conservative Islamic movement, said in a statement that the flag sullied the sacred values of the Indonesia ALSO READ: LGBT community, already marginalized, is forgotten amid the Pandemic.

Foreign ministry reminds foreign representatives to be respectful of the sensitivities among Indonesians on matters relevant to their culture, religion and belief, he said.

A British embassy spokeswoman didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

Faizasyah said that while an embassy is sovereign territory, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations stipulates that only that nation's flag can be flown.

As some politicians start to speak about Islam playing a larger role in the state, Indonesia is less tolerant of its LGBT community, according to activists and human rights groups.

A 2020 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 80 percent of Indonesians believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society ALSO READ: Vietnam's 'first trans dad' shows LGBT openness and challenges.

The chief security minister of Indonesia said last week that a revision of the criminal code being deliberated by parliament included articles aimed at the LGBT community, a move backed by some conservative lawmakers.

His comments came after a backlash over a popular podcast that had to scrap an episode this month in which a gay couple was interviewed.