Indonesia’s first transgender boarding school in Yogyakarta has been forced to close after being branded as “immoral”.
According to Arab Herald the only Islamic boarding school for transgender students in the world has been forced to close down by a group called the Islamic Jihad Front because it’s “immoral”.
This comes after a sudden backlash against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and the hardline group shutting down festivals that focus on women’s issues and churches that don’t practice Islam.
The school, Al Fatah, was long regarded as a symbol of the tolerant brand of Islam widely practised in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
Agnes Dwi Rusjiyati, the local coordinator of activist group Bhinneka Tunggal Ika National Alliance said that “intolerant groups have been imposing their rigid beliefs on people.”
Despite the risk of reprisal, a small group of former students continue to peacefully gather at the school building every week to pray and study Islam.
Many of the women who come to the school to study the Koran make a living as sex workers as they are unable to find other work.
The headmistress, Shinta Ratri, said: “We want to prove that Islam accepts transgenders, that Islam is a blessing for all mankind.”
The closure of Al Fatah is another move towards creeping conservatism that is sweeping over the country as Indonesia targets everything from the gay community, to drinking alcohol and pornography.