A controversial Uzbek imam has suggested that homosexuality is a “disease that worries the world community” and offered advice on how couples can prevent having gay babies.
Rahmatulloh Saifutdinov, the chief imam of Tashkent’s Mirzo Yusuf Mosque, told worshippers that fantasizing about someone other than your spouse during sex can lead to a woman giving birth to a homosexual child.
Speaking during a sermon after Friday Prayers on March 2, Saifutdinov suggested that some Uzbek women think about “handsome” strangers while making love to their husbands:
“For example, women are fantasizing about handsome Turkish soap opera actors. There are many such posts on social media by some married women,” Saifutdinov said. “It’s like having three people taking part in the [sexual] intercourse.”
Such a sexual act, according to the prominent imam, could lead to a woman potentially becoming pregnant with a homosexual baby boy.
Saifutdinov was equally unforgiving about men’s intimate fantasies.
“Men, too, are not allowed to imagine another beautiful woman when they are having sexual intercourse with their wives, because this may lead to the birth of a lesbian child,” the imam warned.
Saifutdinov made the comments during a sermon dedicated to harmonious marriage, family values, and spousal rights and responsibilities in marriage.
Saifutdinov didn’t back his claims with any scientific evidence and wasn’t available for comment when contacted by RFE/RL.
The imam’s assistant told RFE/RL that Saifutdinov had “no further comments” about the topic.
Saifutdinov’s comments came days after Uzbekistan banned the extremely popular Turkish soap opera Endless Love, amid calls by both radical and moderate Muslims to get the TV series off the air.
The soap opera included plotlines common for the genre: about love, relationships, marriage, infidelity, and even topics such as suicide.
Religious groups in Uzbekistan suggested that Endless Love undermined Islamic values.
During his most recent sermon, Saifutdinov made no reference to the Turkish soap opera.
Saifutdinov courted controversy last year when he said Uzbek men should not study and practice obstetrics because “being Muslim is not compatible with being a male obstetrician.”
"It's an embarrassment [to allow male obstetricians]. We should stop it," the imam said in a sermon that had been recorded and posted online. But he later backtracked on those comments and accused the media of blowing them out of proportion.
Saifutdinov is also a professor at the Tashkent Imam Al-Bukhari Islamic Institute and runs a website on which he promotes moderate Islamic values and posts his speeches and articles.
Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reporting by RFE/RL Uzbek Service correspondent Khurmat Babajanov