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Tourists Could Suffer Under New Sex Crime Law Pushed By Islamic Group

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter

A new petition could outlaw same-sex and extramarital relationships in Bali, putting tourists who engage in either in danger of being jailed.

The Family Love Alliance, a group of Islamic activists, petitioned for a judicial review of Indonesia’s current sex crime laws before Indonesia’s Constitutional Court in August 2016, hoping to add an amendment that would outlaw both extramarital sex and homosexual sex, according to Indonesia Investments. Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono said that the proposed amendment went before the court in August 2017, and if it becomes Indonesian law, any tourist engaging in sex outside of marriage would be targeted for arrest, according to News AU.

Australians, according to Harsono, would be particularly at risk given their affinity for vacationing in Bali.

“The group behind this petition want to make consensual relationships outside marriage illegal,” Harsono told News AU. If it becomes a national law, Australians could be punished. We’re now waiting for the verdict. If it is to materialize, it will be used to charge same-sex couples indeed. It will be a crime.”

Only an act of the Indonesian parliament can officially make the amendment into law, but the court’s support of the amendment would influence parliament’s decision.

Active discrimination against individuals perceived to be gay and religious minorities in the Muslim majority country have increased dramatically in recent months, according to News AU.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has spoken out against anti-LGBT persecution, but his words have had little effect. Indonesian police raided a compound Sept. 2 and evicted 12 women on suspicion of being lesbians since they all lived together, according to Human Rights Watch. The police conducted their raid at the behest of local Islamic youth groups who declared that women living together was “against the teachings of Islam.” The incident was only the latest in a series of government sanctioned actions against groups perceived to be un-Islamic.

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