Protest prompted by public caning of two alleged lesbians
Kuala Lumpur – 31 July 2023
Eight members of Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light were arrested during a protest in Kuala Lumpur in solidarity with the LGBT+ community.
Their protest, outside the downtown Sogo shopping mall on Saturday (29 July), was prompted by the recent public caning of two alleged lesbians and other crackdowns on the LGBT+ community in Malaysia.
The Ahmadis were arrested and are being detained at Dang Wangi police headquarters.
They are being held incommunicado, with no access to lawyers or families.
Hadil El-Khouly, the Human Rights Outreach Coordinator of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light UK said:
“They have been detained for over 24 hours for protesting in support of LGBT+ human rights. They are now awaiting a court order to charge them. During detention, they were interrogated by police about their religious beliefs.
“This protest was a response by believers from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light to the persecution of the LGBTQ+ community by the Malaysian government, which has escalated recently. We do not support the oppression of LGBTQ+ people. Our doors are open to everyone.
We have many members of the LGBTQ+ community. Some of them have been jailed in Turkey, Iran and Egypt.”
London-based human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has supported Malaysian human rights campaigns, and the rights of Ahmadi Muslims, for many decades, added:
“This is a laudable brave example of one persecuted minority supporting another. Ahmadis are an oppressed religious minority in Malaysia. Unlike mainstream Muslims, the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light accepts LGBT+ people and supports their human rights. What they did was very courageous. I fear they will pay a heavy price under Malaysia’s draconian anti-protest laws.”