Muslim homophobia the main threat in Moscow, Tatchell claims

“Russian ‘nationalists’ managed to draw first blood at Moscow Gay Pride last night when they disrupted a lecture on Oscar Wilde given by the author and playwright’s grandson Merlin Holland. The lecture was at the State Library of Foreign Literature where the nationalists managed to breach security to gain access to the lecture theatre. Merlin Holland was minutes into his talk when he was heckled in Russian. Others in the audience then joined in as police and stewards rushed to restore calm. ‘No faggots in Russia’, was the cry of the nationalists, who also called for gays to be removed from the country. As they were being removed, the nationalists threw vials of an irritant gas in the auditorium, which then had to be evacuated.”

UK Gay News, 26 May 2006

It’s probably the same rightwingers who attacked a gay and lesbian party at a Moscow nightclub earlier this month, shouting “Down with pederasts” and “No perverts here”. See, 1 May 2006

Note that the religious component to this upsurge of violent right-wing homophobia derives, as you would expect, from Orthodox Christianity. This hasn’t prevented Peter Tatchell from attributing to Islam the primary place in the anti-Pride campaign in Moscow and suggesting that Russian Orthodox Church is merely following the lead of the chief mufti! He writes:

“Much of the anti-gay sentiment that is sweeping Russia has been whipped up by religious leaders. Threatening violence against Moscow Gay Pride, the chief mufti of Russia’s Central Spiritual Governance for Muslims, Talgat Tajuddin, said: ‘Muslim protests can be even worse than these notorious rallies abroad over the scandalous cartoons. The parade should not be allowed, and if they still come out into the streets, then they should be bashed. Sexual minorities have no rights, because they have crossed the line. Alternative sexuality is a crime against God,’ he said, calling on members of the Russian Orthodox Church to join Muslims in mounting a violent response to Moscow Gay Pride. Russian Orthodox leaders responded by lobbying Mayor Luzhkov to ban the parade….”

Guardian Comment is Free, 24 May 2006