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Indonesian President’s Office: We Give Our Citizens Educations and ID Cards, Not LGBT Rights.

Indonesia's government has increased its aggression toward gay communities, and now says they have no space for them.

An Indonesian member of hardline Muslim group Front Pembela Islam (FPI), the Islamic Defender Front holds a placard featuring two gay films during a protest against the Q! Film Festival in front of the Dutch cultural center, Erasmuis Huis in Jakarta on September 28, 2010.  Dozens of members of Front Pembela Islam (FPI) held protests outside cultural centers of France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan on September 28, demanding the cultural centers cancel the screenings during the Q! Film Festival will will showcase 150 films from more than 20 countries highlighting such issues as gay rights and HIV/AIDS.   AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indonesian member of hardline Muslim group Front Pembela Islam (FPI), the Islamic Defender Front holds a placard featuring two gay films during a protest against the Q! Film Festival in front of the Dutch cultural center, Erasmuis Huis in Jakarta on September 28, 2010. Dozens of members of Front Pembela Islam (FPI) held protests outside cultural centers of France, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan on September 28, demanding the cultural centers cancel the screenings during the Q! Film Festival will will showcase 150 films from more than 20 countries highlighting such issues as gay rights and HIV/AIDS. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s a reason that Indonesian officials brush aside accusations that they routinely intimidate their country’s LGBT community. It’s because, as Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu made clear in a February speech, LGBT rights are so dangerous that they could do even more harm to Indonesia than nuclear weapons.

And on Thursday, in response to a new Human Rights Watch report that criticizes the Indonesian government for its failure to protect the LGBT community from intimidation by ministers and influential Islamic leaders, presidential spokesman Johan Budi said there was “no room” for gay people in Indonesia.

He then suggested that because the government provides other services, they are unable to also provide special treatment to those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgender.

“Rights of citizens like going to school and getting an ID card are protected, but there is no room in Indonesia for the proliferation of the LGBT movement,” he said.

The HRW report released Wednesday said that this year, LGBT people in the majority-Muslim nation experienced an “immediate deterioration” in their rights after a group of top officials and other community leaders publicly berated them on numerous occasions over the course of January and February of this year. In many cases, the report says that violence against LGBT people took place without condemnation from government officials. In one incident, two participants in a transgender remembrance day ceremony were hospitalized after an unidentified extremist group attacked them. In another, audience members were targeted during a book launch for an openly lesbian author.

In addition to the defense minister’s comparison of LGBT advocacy to modern warfare, the top education minister called for a ban on LGBT groups on university campuses.

Those remarks paled in comparison to a former communication minister’s suggestion that the public attack and murder gays, and a top psychiatric association suggested that rehabilitation was the only way to save LGBT people.

“What is most worrying is that they want to fight for equal marriage rights,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla in February, while calling for cuts to a United Nations program focused on encouraging LGBT acceptance in Indonesia.

Photo credit: ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images

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