Passport

Kyrgyz Sex Video: You Can Leave Your Mufti Hat On

Here's a story you don't hear every day: The grand mufti of Kyrgyzstan -- the highest Islamic authority in the country -- resigned Tuesday over a sex-tape scandal. The mufti, Rakhmatulla-Hajji Egemberdiev, admitted that the man in a white tank top (sans mufti hat) on the grainy black-and-white video enjoying the company of a young woman is in fact him.

Earlier this week, 60 protesters gathered in front of the Egemberdiev's house demanding his resignation. The mufti complied with the crowd's demands, even though he claimed that the woman on the video was the second wife that he took on four years ago. Polygamy is illegal in Kyrgyzstan and is not widely practiced. The tape, which appeared on Kyrgyz websites on New Year's Eve, was reportedly shot using a hidden camera.

Here's a news report with some snippets from the video:

"Muslim spiritual leaders are in shock," Bakyt Nurdinov, a Muslim activist told Radio Free Europe. "It's the first time such a thing has happened. It's very upsetting that we've lived to see something like this."

Considering previous Kyrgyz muftis' track records, it seems that the latest scandal shouldn't come as such a shocker. Egemberdiev, according to the Moscow Times, is the sixth mufti to be replaced in four years -- a previous mufti resigned after accusations of corruption, another died after being beaten and kidnapped.

Egemberdiev himself was allegedly involved in a financial scandal when he was chosen to become the country's Muslim leader. Now he is accusing the authorities of sabotaging him with the tape so that they could introduce a more "loyal" candidate.

But the real tragedy here is that he did, in fact, not keep his mufti hat on. Here at FP, we hope the future muftis of Kyrgyzstan will listen to a little more Joe Cocker.

Passport

Are Saudi’s Princesses Training for the Olympics, or for the Hunger Games?

Seems like just yesterday that Saudi women were banned from competing in the Olympics. But now that they've proven their mettle (in track and judo, at least), Saudi Arabia's king has high hopes for the women in his own family.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has hired four-time Olympic gold medalist Kim Soo-nyung to train his granddaughters for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The sport? Archery. Which is kind of interesting, because Saudi Arabia doesn't even have a women's national archery team. Despite that minor detail, Kim says the royal family is paying her $200,000 a year plus living expenses to send the unnamed princesses to the Olympics.

But why archery? Maybe the princesses are "Hunger Games" fans. In the U.S., at least, the sport's popularity has soared since "Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence took up a bow in 2011. Five time Olympian Khatuna Lorig coached the actress for her role as teenage archer Katniss Everdeen. USA Archery, the governing body for the Olympic sport, says their membership has increased 105 percent in two years -- largely tied to the popularity of the film. Young girls, in particular, seem to have taken a shine to the sport.

Whatever the reason for the princesses' interest, they will have the advantage of being trained by one of the most successful archers in the world. In 2011, the International Archery Federation named Kim the best female archer of the 20th century, and she's claimed four gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in three Olympic Games.

The princesses, whoever they are, are in good hands. May the odds be ever in their favor!

Wikimedia Commons