Uzbekistan: Gulnara Cancels Charity Marathon in Wake of Boston Attacks
The organizers of a charity marathon in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, have cancelled the event, citing unspecified security threats. On April 22, several organizations that have been linked in the past to the president’s flamboyant daughter, Gulnara Karimova, said in a joint statement, posted on her organization’s website, that the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure would be postponed and replaced with a charity concert on April 27 in support of "those who have suffered” from recent violence in Boston. The decision was prompted by security concerns in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings last week, the statement explains.It is common for authorities in Uzbekistan to cite terrorist attacks abroad as a reason for beefing up security at home. That may make sense. But Uzbek authorities often are also accused of exaggerating threats to justify rounding up suspected dissidents and critics, especially practicing Muslims (which, analysts fear, simply drives believers underground and possibly into the arms of radicals). "The events in Boston have changed the consciousness of many people," the statement from Karimova’s Fund Forum said, adding that over 222,000 people have taken part in her organization’s charity runs and football matches across Uzbekistan this year. The events were expected to culminate in the charity marathon on April 28. It's unclear if Karimova, who records under the stagename Googoosha, will perform at the charity concert.