The city of Padang, Indonesia is using exorcism to “cure” suspected gay and transgender people of their “mental illness” that allegedly pushes them to engage in “immoral” behaviors.
Mayor Mahyeldi Ansharullah of Padang, the capital of West Sumatra province, works with the Civil Service Police (Satpol PP) to implement the so-called “psychological rehabilitation.”
While homosexuality is not illegal in Padang, at least 18 LBGT couples have already been apprehended for rehab which culminates in exorcisms that supposedly drives “malevolent female genies” called djinn away.
The “treatment” is known as ruqyah. During a session, practitioners read verses from the Quran, perform prayers, pummell subjects and bathe them in “holy water,” a former “patient” told New Naratif.
Anti-LGBT protesters in Padang on Nov. 18, 2018. Image via Facebook / Padang DPRD
Islamic cleric Aris Fathoni has been practicing ruqyah for 15 years. He stressed the treatment’s merits in an interview with BBC Indonesia.
“If the ruqyah [patient] reacts, it means that it has something to do with the genie. The reaction is sometimes dizzy, sometimes nauseous, and sometimes it may act like a bencong [an Indonesian term for a male homosexual or transgender woman], like a man but graceful, that’s the term.”
“Those are some cases where we have encountered things like that. [After a ruqyah] the genie comes out of the patient’s body.”