International News

Pro-LGBTQ+ protesters arrested in Malaysia

Graham Robson July 31, 2023

Eight members of pro-LGBTQ+ Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light were arrested during a protest in Kuala Lumpur in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ community in Malaysia.

The Ahmadis, who were arrested and are being detained at Dang Wangi police headquarters, are being held incommunicado, with no access to lawyers or families.

Hadil El-Khouly, 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 LGBTQ+ 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.”

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 LGBTQ+ 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.”