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Malaysia’s government creates ‘malicious’ gay ‘conversion’ therapy app

The app has been described as "shameful" online.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels

The Malaysian government has created an app to promote gay ‘conversion’ therapy, which has been branded “malicious” and “hateful”.

The app – Hijrah Diri Homoseksualiti – is available on the Google Play store, and at the time of writing is still available on the site.

Posting about it on their Twitter account, JAKIM (Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development) said it was to help LGBTQ people “return to nature”.

“It’s embarrassing to be this hateful”

The app’s description on the Google Play Store explains that the app helps people to “overcome the problem of homosexuality,” which it says is needed to “achieve real success in this world and the hereafter.”

E-books contain sermons written by someone who purports to have ‘converted’ themselves against sin and “illicit sexual satisfaction.”

The description also reads: “it is a common sense approach based on self-awareness, mental and behavioral [sic] changes with how to understand and appreciate the beauty and grace of God.”

Screenshot of the app on the Google Play Store

‘Conversion’ therapy is the act of trying to change someone’s sexuality or gender identity and has been debunked by many medical professionals and organisations.

The app has, quite rightly, been slammed online. In the review section on Google Play one person wrote it was “Shameful and a waste of taxpayer money. Think about the example you’re setting for your country and religion. It’s embarrassing to be this hateful.”

On Twitter, one person described the app as “malicious” as well as highlighting some security issues with the app.

Same-sex relations are illegal in Malaysia however convictions are rare. In June 2021, the Malaysian government proposed changes to Sharia law that would allow action to be taken against those insulting Islam and “promoting the LGBT lifestyle”.

Idris Ahmad, a JAKIM minister has also said he is developing a plan to tackle LGBTQ issues.

In 2018, another Malaysian official, Mohd Izwan Md Yusof, claimed that nearly 1,500 people have been ‘cured’ of homosexuality through a rehabilitation programme.

Attitude has been told that the matter is being investigated.

*UPDATE 17/03/2022*

A Google spokesperson told Attitude the app has been suspended and added: “The safety and security of users is our top priority, and if we discover an app that violates our policies, we take action.”