Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian, an Iranian cleric, says COVID-19 vaccine turns people into homosexuals.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the cleric took to his Telegram account — where he has about 210,000 followers — to make the claim.
He, however, did not provide any proof to substantiate his claim.
“Don’t go near those who have had the COVID-19 vaccine. They have become homosexuals,” he was said to have written.
The cleric is said to have a history of making derogatory remarks about western medicine.
He had reportedly burnt a copy of Harrison’s Manual of Medicine, which provides insight into over 600 topics on internal medicine, for being “anti-Islamic” and “irrelevant” last year.
His latest remark has been greeted by criticisms, with many accusing him of attempting to “scare people away from being vaccinated.”
Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident, who fled her country for fear of being victimised, said Tabrizian’s comment was symptomatic of the ignorance holding sway among many clerics in Iran.
“Like other clerics in the regime, also Tabrizian relates all the shortages [shortcomings] to sexuality. The clerics in Iran are suffering from lack of knowledge and humanity,” she was quoted as saying.
“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.”
Also speaking, Peter Tatchell, LGBTQ+ and human-rights campaigner, accused the cleric of combining “scientific ignorance with a crude appeal to homophobia.”
“He’s demonizing both the vaccination program and LGBT+ people without a shred of evidence. By seeking to scare the public into not getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he is fueling the pandemic and putting lives at risk,” he was also quoted as saying.
“Typical of many Iranian religious and political leaders, his bizarre, irrational claims scapegoat LGBTs and put theological prejudice before scientific knowledge.”
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