Minister draws fire for Aids tweet

2010-10-04 12:42
Jakarta – An Indonesian government minister who has in the past blamed natural disasters on immorality has caused more controversy by posting anti-gay comments on Twitter and joking about people with Aids.

Tifatul Sembiring, who is information minister and also a member of the National Aids commission, jumped into a debate about a gay film festival being held in Jakarta, which was protested by Islamic hard-liners and students.

"Behaviours which are potentially carrying the virus must be prevented," he tweeted last week, adding that even the Qu’ran had things to say about homosexuals: "God turned the earth upside down" and "rained them with stones from the burnt land".

In his most controversial comment, however, he recalled a former health minister's joke about Aids.

"Aids – Akibat Itunya Dipakai Sembarangan," which translates as "because they were reckless about where they put their genitals".

He later said he didn't mean to offend anyone, adding: "But everyone has the right to voice their opinion."

Should be more responsible

Ricky Gunawan, the programme director of the Legal Aid Foundation, was quoted as saying by The Globe newspaper that, as a public figure and member of the Aids commission, Sembiring should be more responsible.

The comments are "misleading" and further stigmatise those living with the disease, said Gunawan, who noted that only 3% of the country's estimated 21 000 AIDS patients are believed to be homosexuals.

Sembiring, a member of the Prosperous Justice Party, which believes Islam should play a central role in public life, eagerly embraced social networking site Twitter when he assumed his ministerial post last year and has more than 92 000 followers.

The 49-year-old has used Twitter to share his views on the dangers posed by pornography in Indonesia, a secular country with more Muslims than any other.

He also said last year that a link between natural disasters and immoral behaviour couldn't be ruled out, drawing sharp criticism from earthquake victims.

While the minister's micro-blogging exploits have recieved widespread attention in the local media, there is little chance he will punished. He was well-known for his conservative views before he was appointed.

- AP
Read more on:    twitter  |  indonesia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your ideas may feel like a sea of thoughts swimming around every which way, and now you need to find something to contain them in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.