Singapore: The National University of Singapore says it is looking into a complaint from two current students and a former student on a professor’s views on homosexuality, reports channelnewsasia.com.
In their letter to university authorities, the three took issue with two Facebook posts by Professor Khairudin Aljunied from the school’s Malay Studies Department.
They claimed that Professor Khairudin had described “alternative modes of sexual orientation” as “wayward”, and as “cancers” and “social diseases” to be “cleansed.”
One of the posts has been removed while the other has since been edited, reported channelnewsasia.com.
The National University of Singapore is the country’s flagship institute of tertiary education and research with a focus on Asian perspectives.
Responding to media queries, an NUS spokesperson said the school is in the process of reaching out to the letter writers and Professor Khairudin to “better understand the concerns, and to help address the issues at hand”.
The spokesperson added that the school appreciates the diversity of perspectives surrounding complex and multifaceted issues, but hopes that such conversations will remain “respectful and sensitive.”
A prominent Singapore blogger also took exception to the Muslim professor and scholar branding homosexuality rather flippantly, as a debilitating disease, pointing out that cancer affects millions of people all over the world, including Christians, Muslims, atheists and even homosexuals.
“It appears that in religious texts ‘cancer’ is still synonymous with a vile scourge, but we’ve long left that medieval stigma of cancer as a biblical plague behind us. As someone who’ve seen good, perfectly kind people fight a losing battle against the dreaded disease, I find the Prof’s use of metaphor, given his position in academia, unfortunate and dehumanizing.”
Singapore is currently experiencing a national public debate on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights following an online brochure on sexuality recently published by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board.
The brochure addresses frequently asked questionsabout sexuality, such as “What does it mean to be gay or bisexual?” and “What is homophobia and biphobia?” Among its answers, the brochure says, “homosexuality and bisexuality are not mental illnesses,” and that “a person’s sense of sexual orientation is influenced by environmental, biological and sociological factors.”
Many, including a pastor of a megachurch, have publically written in newspapers that the LGBT community undermines family values. Others praised the government’s decision to publish the brochure.
Singapore has retained a British colonial-era law that criminalizes sex between men, punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years. The government says it won’t actively enforce the ban.