HELL ON EARTH Inside Indonesia’s horrific exorcisms, rapes and electroshock torture to ‘cure’ LGBT people and ‘pray away the gay’


EXORCISMS have largely been confined to the history books – but they’re a grim modern-day reality in Indonesia. Many made to have the “treatment” don’t even have anything wrong with them, but are told they’re possessed by demonic spirits because they’re LGBT. Islamic exorcisms, or “ruqyah”, have come under renewed scrutiny in the Southeast Asian nation after some practitioners have even offered corrective rape as part of a service to “cure” LGBT people. The situation for gay and trans people in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has deteriorated in recent years as religious conservatism has spread. Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Indonesia, except in Aceh province – but growing religious conservatism has led to increases in discrimination in the country. In June 2020, a Pew Research Center study found that just nine per cent of Indonesia’s 270million-strong population thought homosexuality should be accepted by society.

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