While human rights activists criticize Indonesia’s failure to curb anti-LGBT zealots and roll back homophobic fundamentalist Islamic laws, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence praised Indonesia as a model of “modern Islam” that other Muslim-majority countries should follow.
Activists’ recent complaints about Indonesia have included:
Indonesia is continuing to persecute LGBTI people, Human Rights Watch reports. At a time when two men have been jailed on homosexuality charges, Indonesia President Joko Widodo missed an opportunity to roll back repressive sharia laws, HRW said.
- Discrimination against LGBT people in Indonesia costs that country $900 million to nearly $12 billion per year, a new study calculates.
- Indonesian police are working with militant Islamists to curtail the human rights of LGBT Indonesians, Human Rights Watch says.
- An Indonesian militant Islamist group raided a weekend gathering in Jakarta that the group claimed was a homosexual “sex party.”
However, CNN reported today:
Pence praises moderate Islam in Indonesia
Vice President Mike Pence praised Indonesia for its tradition of “modern Islam” Thursday [April 20], sending a conciliatory message to the Islamic world as the Trump administration continues to cause unease among Muslims.
Pence was speaking in the world’s most populous Muslim nation midway through a 10-day swing in Asia meant to reinforce key US alliances at the start of the Trump administration. He met with the country’s president, Joko Widodo, and toured the largest mosque in the region.
Pence said the US would continue working with Indonesia to combat terrorism, and said the country’s form of Islam should serve as an example to other nations.
“As the largest majority Muslim country, Indonesia’s tradition of modern Islam, frankly, is the inspiration to the world,” he said.
“We commend you and your people. In your nation as in mine, religion unifies — it doesn’t divide. It gives us hope for a brighter future. And we’re all grateful for the great inspiration that Indonesia provides for the world.”