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Imam's Home Sex Video Sparks Scandal In Tajikistan

Each mosque in Tajikistan has its own board of 20 people who has to discuss the situation and, if necessary, choose a new imam.
Each mosque in Tajikistan has its own board of 20 people who has to discuss the situation and, if necessary, choose a new imam.
The future of an imam in Tajikistan is in question after he appeared having sex on video clips posted on the Internet.

The scandal erupted last week when three video clips appeared on YouTube and Facebook showing a couple involved in sexual activities.

In one clip a stocky, naked, middle-aged man appears to put a mobile phone on a table or shelf before climbing into bed and having sex with a woman wearing a green head scarf. The face of the man, who has a dark beard, appears clearly.

The videos were removed by YouTube and Facebook within a few hours. They appeared again for several hours on June 11.

Law enforcement officers have questioned the imam of a mosque in the village of Bolshevik in Rudaki district, near the capital, Dushanbe, as part of an investigation.

Local police tell RFE/RL’s Tajik Service that the imam has acknowledged filming himself having sex with his wife on his mobile phone.

The imam, whose name has not been made public, denied posting the videos and claimed he had lost the phone.

No criminal case was opened against the imam.

The Interior Ministry says it wants to know who posted the videos on the Internet as part of the police probe into possible invasion of privacy.

The person who posted the videos identified himself as Soleh Hotamyon.

One caption erroneously identified the man in the video as Muhiddin Kabiri, the nonbearded chairman of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). The captions for the two other clips mention IRPT Deputy Chairman Mahmadali Hait, who has a white beard.

Neither official has made any comment.

The story has drawn furious reactions in the Rudaki district and on social networks.

On the website of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, one visitor wrote:

"Nowadays our blind people believe anyone wearing a beard or a turban and worship him. The guy recorded his intimate scene on his mobile phone. Do you really believe that he thinks about the image of Muslims? I don't believe so!"

Others wrote:

“It's so disgusting. How is it possible to record sex with your wife and publish in on the Internet?? He does not deserve to be a cleric. Don't call him a cleric."
"Mullahs like you are discrediting our dear Islam. Do you know how much you pleased the enemies of Islam? If I were an official, I would give you a life jail sentence."

The fate of the imam is now in question.

According to the Department of Fatwa of Tajikistan’s state-backed Council of Ulema, it is a sin to take pictures of sexual intercourse.

The council, which has a consultative role, says it will discuss the scandal on June 20.

Spokesman Hoji Nematullo Olimov says each mosque has its own board of 20 people who has to discuss the situation and, if necessary, choose a new imam.

The decision must be rubber-stamped by the state Committee of Religious Affairs.

Written by Antoine Blua based on reporting by Mirzonabi Kholiqzod of RFE/RL's Tajik Service

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