Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya, practised by 95% of those polled in Grozny in 2010. Chechens are overwhelmingly adherents to the Shafi’i Madhhab of Sunni Islam, the republic having converted to Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries.
Gay men are being held in “camps” in the Chechen Republic where they are subjected to torture and beatings, human rights campaigners have claimed.
The claims follow reports last week that 100 gay men had been rounded up and imprisoned in Chechnya, with at least three people allegedly murdered. The allegations were made by a Russian newspaper and human rights campaigners. “In Chechnya, the command was given for a ‘prophylactic sweep’ and it went as far as real murders,” independent newspaper Novaya Gazetaclaimed.
At the time, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s spokespersondenied the claims on the grounds that no one in Chechnya is homosexual. “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” spokesman Alvi Karimov told Interfax.