Indonesia: Muslim preacher warns of gay corruption via K-pop

A popular preacher in Jakarta has told his followers to be vigilant about being led into the gay “lifestyle” via pop music, in particular K-pop.

The K-pop boy band BTS saw their album "Love Yourself: Tear" debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.
Gay music? The K-pop boy band BTS saw their album “Love Yourself: Tear” debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 this year.

By Lloyd Copper

K-pop, or Korean pop, is a lively form of music that has brought great commercial success to Korean recording artists, whose work is popular  in many countries. Perhaps its best-known artist is Psy, with his 2012 novelty hit “Gangnam Style.”

However the Jakarta Post reported that Fuadh Naim, a preacher with thousands of followers on social media, warned Muslims at a mosque in South Jakarta on Feb. 26 that:

“[The Korean Wave] offers something interesting, and refreshing like water, which actually draws Muslims into the fire [of hell].”

The preacher was a former fan of K-pop but said depictions of LGBT behaviour, such as “skinship”, a Korean term that refers to male bonding, were commonly seen on stage and could lead on to homosexual behaviour.

Fuadh Naim warns about K-pop. (Photo courtesy of the Jakarta Post / Asia News Network)
Fuadh Naim warns about K-pop. (Photo courtesy of the Jakarta Post / Asia News Network)

Fuadh says he has already traveled to 30 Indonesian cities to deliver his warning about K-pop.

Jakarta, like most of Indonesia, has a Muslim majority and the influence of religion cannot be overstated. This latest anti-gay warning is yet another sign of trouble for the country’s LGBT population, who are facing unprecedented levels of antagonism. Those include attacks on social media, arrests by the police in response to conservative citizens’ complaints about LGBT neighbors, and beatings in the intensely conservative area of Aceh.

Not all readers of the Jakarta Post’s story were convinced. Some of the comments on the Facebook version of the story were:

  • “At least they spread love, not hatred”
  • “Because he watched some boy K pop and had feelings..…”
  • “Intelligent people can make up their own minds on what they can view. Do they seriously believe that if someone views Korean drama or K pop videos they are going to turn gay? I’d better warn my wife, niece and sister in law!”

Lloyd Copper comments:

Warnings about corruption of people’s sexuality due to music are nothing new. From the outcry about Elvis Presley’s wiggling hips in the ‘50s to the homophobic reaction to gay disco artists like Village People and Sylvester in the ’70s through to continual complaints about Madonna’s behavior in the ’80s, the idea that music can influence listeners’ sexuality is common.

The problem in Indonesia, however, is that Fuadh Naim’s anti-gay warning comes at a time when homophobia is sweeping the country.  A preacher talking nonsense to his flock could lead to censorship, more repression and possibly violence.

Lloyd Copper is an Australian writer with a passion for promoting awareness of international LGBTI issues. He has a background in journalism and social work. He is a co-administrator of the Anonymous LGBT Legion Facebook page and has previously written for Queensland Pride, an LGBTI publication and Scenestr, an Australian arts publication.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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