An Iranian regime cleric in the holy city of Qom on Tuesday issued a homophobic rant against people vaccinated for COVID-19, claiming that they become gay after receiving the vaccine.
Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian wrote on his Telegram social-media platform: “Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals.”
The radical Islamist has nearly 210,000 followers on his Telegram account.
Tabrizian has a history of derogatory opinions about Western medicine. Last year, a video showed him burning Harrison’s Manual of Medicine and saying that “Islamic medicine” had made such books “irrelevant,” according to an article on the website of Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcast service.
“Like other clerics in the regime, also Tabrizian relates all the shortages [shortcomings] to sexuality,” Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled the Islamic Republic of Iran due to repression, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “The clerics in Iran are suffering from lack of knowledge and humanity.”
“Actually, his goal of spreading nonsense is to try to scare people [out] of getting vaccinated, while the leader of the regime and other officials got Pfizer, and they don’t provide it for the people with the excuse that they don’t trust the West,” she said.
According to Peter Tatchell, a LGBTQ+ and human-rights campaigner, “Ayatollah Tabrizian combines scientific ignorance with a crude appeal to homophobia.”
“He’s demonizing both the vaccination program and LGBT+ people without a shred of evidence,” he told the Post. “By seeking to scare the public into not getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he is fueling the pandemic and putting lives at risk. Typical of many Iranian religious and political leaders, his bizarre, irrational claims scapegoat LGBTs and put theological prejudice before scientific knowledge.”