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Moscow Gay Pride banned as Religious groups threaten violence

IDAHO-UK | 17.02.2006 09:40 | Gender | Repression | Social Struggles | London | World

The Mayor of Moscow has banned Gay Pride from the city and religious leaders have denounced gays, including Moscow's Chief Mufti who called for violent attacks on gays while Chief Rabbi says gays have no right to exist.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has announced that the city government will not allow a gay parade “in any form” and any attempt to hold a gay event will be “resolutely quashed”

The Mayor’s dictat follows statements by the Russian Chief Mufti threatening violence if the Pride parade went ahead.

Chief Mufti of Russia’s Central Spiritual Governance for Muslims Talgat Tajuddin said:

“Muslims’ protests can be even worse than these notorious rallies abroad over the scandalous cartoons,” Chief Mufti of Russia’s Central Spiritual Governance for Muslims Talgat Tajuddin said.

“The parade should not be allowed, and if they still come out into the streets, then they should be bashed,” he added.

Tajuddin declared: “Sexual minorities have no rights, because they have crossed the line. Alternative sexuality is a crime against God.”

He then called on Russian Orthodox members to join Muslims in formulating a violent response to Moscow Pride.

Not to be left out, Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar said that if a gay pride was allowed to go ahead it "would be a blow for morality". He stopped short of calling for violence, but the Jewish community would not stand by silently. "Sexual perversions", he said, did not have a right to exist. Lazar said that gay pride marches were “a provocation” similar to cartoon depictions of Mohammed.

Moscow Pride organiser, meanwhile, has said that attempts to prevent the march will be challenged with court action, if necessary, all the way to the European Court of
human rights in Strasbourg.

Russian gay and lesbian activists announced in July that they would apply for a permit to hold pride celebrations in Moscow next May. If it is granted it would be the first pride parade ever held in the Russian capital. The projected date is May 27, 2006 — the anniversary of the abolition of Soviet laws against homosexuality in 1993.

Many well known gay rights campaigners from around the world will attend the first ever Gay Pride Parade in Russia, which coincides with the first International Day Against Homophobia conference. These include the British campaigners Michael Cashman MEP, Peter Tatchell of OutRage! and UK IDAHO co-ordinator Derek Lennard.

Also attending are the Deputy Mayor of Paris and several members of the European Council. Representatives from more than 30 countries will attend the Moscow International Gay Festival, which as well as Pride and the first IDAHO conference will include a series of talks by Mervin Holland, the grandson of Oscar Wilde, and a day of “Russian and Scandinavian homoculture”.

Derek Lennard, UK Correspondent for the International Day Against Homophobia said “The first Pride in Moscow is of enormous and enormous importance particularly to the LGBT communities in the Baltic and Eastern European Countries. All those who are able to take the freedom to organise Pride for granted will surely want show their support for the LGBT community in Moscow”

Peter Tatchell said: “These attempts by the Russian state and religious leaders to suppress the right to protest are a throwback to the bad old days of czarist and communist totalitarianism. No amount of threats and intimidation by the Mayor of Moscow, the Chief Mufti or the Chief Rabbi will halt the gay freedom struggle in Russia. The right to sexual self-determination and the right to protest are fundamental human rights that every democratic humanitarian nation must respect.”

The event is a week after the start of the Russian Presidency in the Council of Europe and just before the summit of G8 leaders in St Petersburg. President Putin has not commented on Pride or the threats of violence from religious leaders.

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