ALMATY (Reuters) – An Uzbek imam who ran into trouble for urging President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to lift a school headscarf ban said he has left the mainly Muslim nation due to pressure from security services.
Fazliddin Parpiyev, former cleric at one of the capital Tashkent’s mosques, was the first dissident to leave Uzbekistan under Mirziyoyev who has largely sought to liberalise the former Soviet republic and encouraged emigres to return.
The 32-year-old iman wrote on Facebook this week that he had been summoned by state prosecutors and no longer felt safe in Uzbekistan. He did not disclose his and his family’s location, but said it was thousands of kilometres away.
In a case showing the limits of Uzbekistan’s newly-proclaimed tolerance, Parpiyev was sacked after a Facebook video saying that despite recent reforms, Muslims were still being oppressed over religious symbols like hijabs and beards.