The appalling President Karimov of Uzbekistan does not mellow in old age. He has just given a speech in which he describes homosexuality as a “vile western phenomenon.” The only news report I can find adds that he said:
“If a man lives with a man, or a woman with a woman, I think that something there isn’t quite right, or some change has happened,”
I am told by someone who was present that he went on to order a still harsher clampdown on gays by the authorities. I have personal friends who were taken in by police and severely tortured for being gay in Uzbekistan. Yet the British Home Office still routinely refuses claims by gay Uzbek asylum seekers.
Homosexuality was in fact an accepted feature of Uzbek society until colonial occupation by European Russians (something which many other of my Uzbek friends find hard to accept, but undoubtedly true). Karimov’s assertion is therefore the diametric opposite of the truth.