05/14/2024, 10.31
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Muslim clerics against sexologist: the TikTok diatribe in Bishkek

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Muftiat's condemnation of Ajnura Sagynbaeva's statements on sexual relations outside marriage: ‘an open distortion of the precepts of Islam’ that contradicts ‘the moral values of the entire Kyrgyz society’. But there are those who argue that by allowing themselves to be dragged into the media controversy they risk producing the opposite effect, giving her only great publicity.


Bishkek (AsiaNews) - A dispute has broken out in Kyrgyzstan between the Religious Administration of Muslims and the blogger, psychologist and sexologist Ajnura Sagynbaeva, involving the entire public opinion of the country.

The blogger uploaded a video on TikTok in which she states that sexual relations outside of marriage do not constitute a sin even from a religious point of view, and Muftiat leaders declared that her views on the matter are "an open distortion of precepts of Islam" and contradict the moral values of the entire Kyrgyz society, above all ruining the orientation of youth. Muslim leaders threatened to report the author of the sex post to the police.

Sagynbaeva - who also defines herself as a cosmetologist, as well as a sexologist - wanted to show in the video how today's young people, boys and girls, experience their relationship with sexuality.

According to her observations, “for males the lack of sexual relations is harmful to their health, so don't believe what they tell you, sex outside of marriage is not a sin…”. She says to the boys: "if you don't come forward with women your muscles will function poorly and the vessels will become compressed, then don't come to me if you have problems". Finally, she recommends the use of condoms, "so it's not a sin even for religion", because "what matters is remaining men".

Many internet users were shocked by these statements, and asked the muftis to clarify the matter. Although in Kyrgyzstan no religion is defined as an official cult of the State, maintaining the regime of separation between the State and religious communities, the Muslim Administration felt obliged to express an authoritative opinion with the support of the civil authorities, communicating that "if this citizen will not stop expressing her subjective opinions which do not correspond to the principles of Sharia and national values, we will be forced to turn to the corresponding bodies of the State".

The sexologist then deleted her video from the social network, writing however that she only did so due to the Muftiat's warnings. However, her role as a consultant-influencer puts her in contact with hundreds of thousands of her followers, who continually ask her questions on similar topics, making her pages among the most popular in the Kyrgyz language on topics relating to sexuality .

Ajnura then added that she did not intend to stray into the religious field: "You have to tread very slowly with the conscience of believing people, they are very delicate feelings and I shouldn't have used the word sin."

According to her expertise, she insists that she wants to help clarify medical and psychological issues, and some of her online interlocutors often end up “getting too explicit.” According to lawyer and activist Eržan Sulayman, some of Sagynbaeva's expressions can also be considered discriminatory, such as the invitation to "come forward to women" and the description of sex as a "necessity for male health", but the reaction of the Muftiat in his opinion it was excessive, as there were no elements to contact the courts or the police.

According to him, Muslim leaders "would have done better to calmly and effectively illustrate the principles of Islamic morality regarding extra-marital relationships, avoiding naming names and being dragged into a media controversy that risks producing the opposite effect , giving the sexologist great free publicity."

Other commentators, however, defend freedom of expression in Kyrgyzstan, a much-discussed topic far beyond ethical and religious questions.

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