LGBTI activists in Malaysia have denounced an attack on two young men accused of having sex with each other, after a video of the violent assault went viral on Facebook and Twitter.
Numan Afifi Saadan, president of local LGBTI rights group PELANGI Campaign, tweeted, “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!” when he came across the video on Twitter, according to Malay Mail.
The video shows two shirtless men in a car being approached by a number of individuals believed to be security guards who verbally abused them, cursing and calling them “embarrassments”.
The pair are then ordered to exit the vehicle before they’re physically attacked. The video ends as the attackers ask for the men’s identity cards.
The 96 second Twitter video, which was filmed off of a Facebook post, has been viewed 435,000 times with over 11,500 retweets and more than 5,800 likes. The original Facebook post, which still remains on the platform, currently has more than 2,400 comments, 1,400 shares, and 115,000 views.
A number of comments on the posts are supportive of the homophobic sentiments aired in the video, praising the assailants and the person who filmed and shared the attack.
PELANGI Campaign have shared their disapproval of the homophobic assault, calling on anyone with information about the incident to contact them so they can offer the victims support.
“We have received unverified report about a viral video of two young men that were beaten up by a group of people for allegedly having gay sex. We categorically condemn this anti-gay violence and call on the Malaysian authority to investigate on this hate crime,” they tweeted.
“If anyone knew the victims, please let them know that we’re here to give support. If you have any information about this, please come forward and reach out to us. We need to put a stop on injustices and violence against LGBTQ community.”
Eric Paulsen, co-founder of human rights organisation Lawyers for Liberty, also expressed disapproval of the video, tweeting, “This is serious assault, an aggravated hate crime. Hope the authorities will investigate & arrest the perpetrators.”
“Everyone deserves equal protection under the law.”
LGBTI people are experiencing increased discrimination and persecution in Malaysia, where homosexuality is criminalised and punishable by jail or corporal punishment.
The posting of this video comes just days after five people were charged with beating a 32 year old transgender woman to death, cracking her skull and causing internal haemorrhaging in the brain.
Earlier this year two women aged 22 and 32 were fined and caned after being convicted of “attempting to have lesbian sex” in a car, and a university Muslim Students’ Association held a competition to create a video or poster on how to convert LGBTI students back to Islam.
This followed a 2017 initiative from the health ministry encouraging people aged 13 to 24 to create anti-LGBTI propaganda videos against “gender confusion” to discourage people from being gay or transgender.
But Saadan had one final message for the perpetrators of the attack, tweeting, “If you think that by beating us up, you can make us afraid, then yes, we are afraid of our safety.”
“But we are also angry.”
He then shared a quote from Indian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Kailash Satyarthi: “I’m urging you to become angry, because the angriest among others is the one who can transform his anger into idea and action.”