By Michael Regula
Originally published on Advocate.com October 03 2013 6:36 PM ET
A conservative Muslim imam in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan has called for a boycott of a December concert by British pop star Sir Elton John, whom he labeled the “devil’s work in the shape of a pederast,” on his mosque's website.
Imam Seidzhagfar Lutfullin, of Kazan’s Thousandth Anniversary of Islam Mosque, called on believers to stay away from Elton John’s show in Kazan and recommended they warn others to do the same. A group of Russian parents has also called for a boycott of John's concerts.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you not to attend these concerts due to the fact that they contribute to the spread of this sin, the consequence of which we know from the history of the people who lived before us,” he said.
Lutfullin also warned that so-called promotion of same-sex relations could send Kazan, the republic’s capital, down the same road as Sodom and Gomorrah, the ancient biblical cities destroyed by God as punishment for the greed and sins of their residents. “Sodomy … is what the world famous homosexual Elton John, who recently wed a man in public, is promoting,” he declared on the website.
Elton John, who is due to perform in Kazan December 8 following a show in Moscow, said last month that he will proceed with planned concerts throughout Russia, despite the passage of Russia's harsh anti-LGBT laws earlier this year. In June, President Vladimir Putin signed a nationwide ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" visible to minors, imposing fines and jail time for what amonts to any positive discussion of LGBT identities.
"I've got to go. And I've got to think about what I'm going to say very carefully,” John told The Guardian last month. “There's two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you're really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the antigay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go."
In August, Russian officials announced that Madonna and Lady Gaga had each violated their visas while touring in the country last year and asserted that the two pop stars had indeed violated the nation’s propaganda law. While Cher announced last month that she turned down an invitation to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi due to Russia's "gay hate," Elton John has refused to cancel his shows.
Just before blaming gay people — whom he calls perverts — for attacking spiritual and moral society, Imam Lutfullin stated on his mosque's website, “We are all equal before God, regardless of nation or color.”