In Muslim Malaysia, uproar over LGBTQ groups at Women's Day march

By Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian minister has decried the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups at a march celebrating International Women’s Day on Saturday, calling it “a misuse of democratic space”.

The statement comes amid concerns over growing persecution of the LGBTQ community in the Muslim-majority country, where same-sex acts are outlawed.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in September last year that Malaysia could not accept same-sex marriage or LGBTQ rights.

Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the minister in charge of religious affairs, said the government did not recognize LGBTQ practices as lawful.

“I am very shocked with the actions of certain parties… that misused democratic space in order to defend things that are wrong from the point of view of Islam,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook account on Saturday night.