Former IT Minister accused of hate speech for trying to justify killing gay people in tweets

So far, many of the things conservative politicians have said about the “dangers” of LGBT rights have been simply ridiculous – from a defense minister who said that the LGBT movement is more dangerous than nuclear war to a mayor who said that instant noodles could make your baby gay.

But this is the first time during the current LGBT panic gripping Indonesia that a politician has actually publicly suggested that “sexual deviants” should be killed.

This latest WTF moment came courtesy of DPR member and former Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, a man some of you may recognize as being responsible for blocking Vimeo and Reddit in Indonesia.

This morning, Tifatul stoked the flames of LGBT hatred by posting a series of tweets, starting with this one:

The Prophet said: Those who find people who do as the people of Lut (homosexuality), then kill him – HR. Ahmad

This drew the ire of netizens, the majority of whom criticized Tifatul’s justification for killing homosexuals. Renowned filmmaker Joko Anwar even pointed out that Tifatul’s tweets falls directly under the category of hate speech and should be punishable by law:

Congratulations, you’ll be charged with hate speech. Please swallow your own medicine.

But, as one would expect, Tifatul denied accusations of hate speech because he said he was merely quoting religious scripture.

But then again, just how credible was the religious scripture Tifatul quoted?

It’s important to note that what Tifatul quoted was not taken from the Quran, but the hadith, which is a collection of reports claiming to quote what the prophet Muhammad said on different matters. Akhmad Sahal, a Ph.D. candidate of the Department of Religious Studies in University of Pennsylvania, responded to Tifatul’s tweet and schooled him on the matter of the hadith and why his justification for killing was erroneous in the context of Islam.

Over a series of 58 tweets, Akhmad explained that there are different types of hadith with varying degrees of credibility based on whether they were actually said by the prophet Muhammad or not. Akhmad argues that the hadith that Tifatul quoted falls under the disputable category because there’s a possibility that it wasn’t a direct quote from the prophet.

Akhmad then went on to explain the danger of taking these kinds of hadiths literally without considering the wider context in which they should be applied. He claims that it’s exactly the kind of method used by a certain terrorist group to justify their murderous actions.

Isis and their kind don’t care for the need for cautiousness taken by Ulemas [when applying laws based on hadith]. They think that as long as the hadith exists, they can just execute [people]

Quoting one or two hadiths to justify a criminal offence is like a stupid person reading a doctor’s manual and believing himself to be a doctor.

Hopefully Akhmad’s way of thinking prevails over Indonesian leaders and their willingness to use religion to justify hatred towards marginalized groups. God forbid the people of this country would ever kill people just for being “different” and justifying it in the same way ISIS does.

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