An “Islamic rehabilitation center” for homosexuals will open in Malaysia’s Johor state next year. The center is the first of its kind in the Southeast Asian country, Fared Khalid, head of the Islamic Religious Affairs Committee in the region, said on Wednesday, as quoted by the Malay Mail newspaper. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country with a Muslim population of around 60 percent.
Khalid stated that the equipment for offices and dormitories for men and women is currently being prepared. “The center is expected to be fully operational by July next year.” He initially left open what exactly would happen at the facility and who would be admitted there.
Malaysia’s treatment of gay people stands in stark contrast to its neighboring countries: Thailand is considered one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in Southeast Asia, and homosexuality was legalized in Singapore in 2022.
Conversion therapies, which aim to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation, among other things, are highly controversial. It is banned in many EU countries. In Austria, government parties cannot agree on the ban. Negotiations on the relevant draft law recently collapsed at the beginning of the summer.