BISHKEK – A fatwa against homosexuality by Kyrgyzstan highest Islamic authority has sparked debates in the central Asian country, coming in the wake of a right group’s report which called on Kyrgyz police to stop targeting gays.
Published: February 12, 2014
“All Muslims should stay away from [homosexuality] and live by Allah’s Shari`ah," Grand Mufti Maksat Hajji Toktomushev said in the fatwa posted on the website of the Kyrgyz Muslims Spiritual Directorate, Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) reported on Tuesday, February 11.
The fatwa also cited a hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): "If you see a community of luts [a reference to the Lut tribe (also Lot), described in the Qur’an as practicing sodomy] doing their deeds, you should kill the one who is doing it and the one to whom it is being done."
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Interpreted as a call to kill homosexuals, the fatwa sparked debated between advocates of secular government and the Kyrgyz Muslims Spiritual Directorate headed by Toktomushev.
Last week, representatives of the two, along with a prominent human rights lawyer, debated the potential impact of Toktomushev’s religious decree during a roundtable discussion organized in Bishkek by RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service.
During the debate, former Kyrgyz Justice Minister Marat Kayipov said that while religious leaders "have the right to express their opinion like anyone else," they should consider the impact of their words on society.
Human rights activists have also warned that the fatwa could incite violence against homosexuals.
"With this fatwa the acting mufti lambasts all gays and lesbians. [Religious leaders] should instead do some serious thinking about it, and have experts study the issue thoroughly," Human rights lawyer Tolekan Ismailova said.
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