Homophobia in Central Asia – Will It Increase As Islamism Consolidates Its Influence?
As a follow up to our article on the rise of Islamism in Kyrgzstan, we now take a look at the issue of homophobia in Central Asia. Our previous article looked at the Russia Today (RT) news report of the increasing influence of Islamism in Kyrgzstan. Today we look at an article on the GroundReport website entitled Homophobia Endemic in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan.
The article outlines the harrowing experiences of some homosexuals in those countries which indicate that homophobia is deeply ingrained in such societies. It is unlikely that that an increase in the influence of Islamism in the region will lead to improvements in gay rights. The article does acknowledge that there have been improvements since the fall of the Soviet Union:
“Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, there have been some improvements to gay rights in both countries. Homosexuality, which could lead to several years in prison during the Soviet era, has been decriminalised.”
However, will this remain the case if Islamism consolidates its influence in this region? Under Sharia law, homosexual acts are hudud crimes – crimes against God, and as such can be subject to extreme fixed punishments. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan both follow the Hanafi Madhhab (school of law) and the way Alisher was treated by his father, as described in the article, seems to be consistent with the Hanafi Madhhab. The way that homosexuals are treated in the countries that are now sending missionaries into Central Asia means that the plight of homosexuals in the region may become more severe in the years ahead.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is currently lobbying to restrict freedom of expression in the West, and Western Governments seem to be acquiescing with them. Perhaps the OIC and Western governments should spend more time standing up for the rights of homosexuals in OIC countries than devising ways to restrict freedom across the world. If the plan to create what amounts to an international blasphemy law is implemented then will the principles of sharia become more entrenched in the Western world? Such a situation would be unlikely to help confront homophobia and improve human rights. All people who value freedom need to oppose the spread of sharia compliant legislation both in the West and in the Islamic world.