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Indonesia's Top Islamic Body Protests Gay Film Festival


Indonesia's top Islamic body is demanding that the government shut down a gay and lesbian film festival.

The Indonesian Ulema Council criticized foreign cultural centers Friday for showing the films, saying the movies are "against Islamic and Indonesian cultural values."

The ninth annual Q! Film Festival is being staged in six cities across Indonesia, the only event of its kind in the Muslim world. Hard-line Muslim groups protested the monthlong event at several theaters this week, forcing the cancelation of some screenings.

Ulema Council chairman Ma'ruf Amin said foreigners showing the films, including German and French cultural centers, "should not bring their culture which goes against our local values."

Indonesia, a secular nation of more than 237 million people, is the world's most populous Muslim country.

While most Indonesians are moderate and tolerant, militants in recent years have become more vocal in their opposition to aspects of Indonesian life they consider to be contrary to Islamic teaching.

In one of the protests this week, members of the Islamic Defenders Front - some wearing masks, white robes and turbans - chanted anti-gay slogans and said the movies were blasphemous.

About 150 films from more than 20 countries, including France, Japan and the Philippines, are being shown at the festival.


Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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