Indonesian Islamists Protest Condom Use

SURABAYA ~ Hundreds of Indonesian Islamists rallied on Tuesday, World AIDS day, to demand the imple-mentation of sharia law to prevent the spread of AIDS rather than condom use.

About 700 members from the Muslim Women of Hizbut Tahrir group staged a rally in the city of Surabaya in East Java province, distributing pamphlets on AIDS.

“We have to admit that using condoms is equal to legalising free sex,” Muslim Women of Hizbut Tahrir spokeswoman Febrianti Abassuni said in a statement.

“We hope that the government stops the programme and returns to the application of sharia,” she said, referring to the Islamic legal code that has strict rules on gender segregation, sexuality and drug use.

Hizbut spokeswoman for the rally Nurul Izzati said that they also rejected harm reduction programmes for drug users.

“It has been proved that harm reduction cannot stop the behaviour of drug users and cannot guarantee that they won’t share needles,” Izzati said.

“We also urge the government to close down brothels.”

Hundreds of members of the Hizbut Tahrir group rallied Sunday on the streets of several cities including Jakarta, Solo, Yogyakarta and Makassar.

Around 270,000 Indo-nesians are estimated to be infected with HIV, and AIDS has claimed about 8,700 lives, according to UNAIDS.

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