No. 4 Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.​

Respond to Seksualiti Merdeka with wisdom

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is concerned that Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia president Datuk Ibrahim Ali has characterised sexuality rights festival Seksualiti Merdeka as a “threat to security” (Malaysian Digest, 31 Oct 2011).

As a Muslim women’s organisation, we agree with Datuk Ibrahim that many Muslims are opposed to affirming sexual diversity or granting rights to sexual minorities. However, we are also aware that there are many Muslims who engage in events such as Seksualiti Merdeka in order to gain a better understanding of gender and sexuality in society. This dialogue, especially on thorny issues, is important for all Malaysians in our quest to understand how to manage diversity and disagreement in civil ways. As Allah says in the holy Quran: “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom (hikmah) and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:125)

Furthermore, the reality is that sexual minorities in Malaysia, especially Muslims, are vulnerable to numerous abuses by state and community actors which often threaten their very lives. Surely there must be a more humane way forward even among Muslims such as Datuk Ibrahim who are opposed to inclusive sexuality rights.

Nevertheless, we are heartened that Perkasa has not declared that it will shut down or disrupt the event for now. In fact, it would be a positive step for Perkasa to air its concerns and seek to address them through civil and public discussion.

Sisters in Islam
1 November 2011