The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) urged the government to deport visiting liberal Canadian Muslim activist Irshad Manji, saying she is trying to promote homosexuality among Indonesian Muslims.
“Irshad Manji is a gay and lesbian activist. She wants to make Islam open to gays and lesbians. Islam would never accept gays and lesbians,” Habib Novel, the secretary of the Jakarta branch of the FPI, said on Saturday.
Manji was in Jakarta to attend the launch of her new book “Allah, Liberty and Love” at the Salihara cultural center in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, on Friday evening.
She had only spoken for about 15 minutes when police interrupted her, announcing that the event should be called off because hundreds of members and supporters of the FPI had gathered at the center and demanded an end to the event.
Manji was escorted out of Salihara under heavy police guard.
Habib said Salihara had not sought a permit from Pasar Minggu Police before the event.
“The local neighborhood and community units were not informed, so they were shocked when the discussion took place. That upset the [Pasar Minggu] police chief and that’s why they dispersed the forum,” he said.
Manji is a Canadian author, journalist and an advocate of a progressive interpretation of Islam. She is a critic of traditional mainstream Islam.
She serves as the director of the Moral Courage Project at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, and she is the founder and president of Project Ijtihad, a charitable organization promoting a “tradition of critical thinking, debate and dissent” in Islam.