Malaysia’s new religious affairs minister urged the public Tuesday to stop discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) people in the workplace as long as they don’t openly declare their sexuality.
All people, including members of the LGBT community, have equal rights and freedom, Mujahid Yusof Rawa told reporters. His groundbreaking comments stirred criticism from other politicians and religious figures in majority-Muslim Malaysia, where Islam is the official faith and homosexual acts, such as sodomy, are outlawed and punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
“No one should be discriminated at work or barred from working,” said Mujahid, a member of the faith-based National Trust Party (Amanah) who is minister in charge of religious affairs under the Prime Minister’s Department in Malaysia’s new government.
Mujahid, who left the conservative Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) to join Amanah, said LGBT members should be free to work.
“As long as they can work and they do not try to challenge the system where it can bring damage to Islam, then there should be no problem,” the minister told reporters at parliament.
His comments on the sensitive issue of LGBT rights appeared to be unprecedented for a Malaysian government official, but he did draw a line. Mujahid said people who were open about their sexuality could create problems if they did not mirror the Islamic values of Malaysia.
Full story: BenarNews
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