An Iranian cleric has told his followers to keep away from those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as they have “become homosexuals”.
Ayatollah Abbas Tabrizian, a cleric from the city of Qom, shared his pseudoscientific rant on messaging app Telegram, where he has almost 210,000 followers.
“Don’t go near those who have had the COVID vaccine. They have become homosexuals,” he wrote.
The controversial religious figure has been widely criticised for his comments. Iranian dissident Sheina Vojoudi told the Jerusalem Post that he blames all shortcomings on sexuality.
“The clerics in Iran are suffering from lack of knowledge and humanity,” Vojoudi said.
“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 [the] Pfizer [vaccine] , and they don’t provide it for the people with the excuse that they don’t trust the west.”
This is not the first time the controversial religious figure has made bizarre claims. He was widely ridiculed in January 2020 when a video of himself burning a copy of an American scientific textbook was shared online.
He claimed that “Islamic medicine” had made such books “irrelevant”.
Abbas Tabrizian is trying to ‘scapegoat’ the LGBT+ community with COVID-19 claims.
Tabrizian has dedicated much of his time to spreading dangerous misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic since the virus began its rapid spread across the world.
In February 2020, he was mocked by much of the general population in Iran when he shared a video on Telegram offer 13 tips to help people avoid contracting COVID-19.
But the video wasn’t exactly full of useful tips. He claimed that brushing your hair, eating onion and soaking a piece of cotton and soaking it in violet flower oil before inserting it into the anus before sleep would prevent people from contracting the virus.
LGBT+ rights activist Peter Tatchell told the Jerusalem Post that Tabrizian is trying to “scapegoat” the LGBT+ community.
“He’s demonising both the vaccination program and LGBT+ people without a shred of evidence,” Tatchell said.
“By seeking to scare the public into not getting vaccinated against COVID-19, he is fuelling the pandemic and putting lives at risk.
“Typical of many Iranian religious and political leaders, his bizarre, irrational claims scapegoat LGBT [people] and put theological prejudice before scientific knowledge.”
Tabrizian’s baseless claims come just weeks after an Israeli rabbi made headlines across the world when he claimed that coronavirus vaccines can turn people gay.
Daniel Asor pleaded with his follower to avoid getting vaccinated against COVID-19, saying doing so could “turn them” into homosexuals.
Needless to say, there is not even a scrap of evidence to support any of Tabrizian and Asor’s wild claims.
Furthermore, it should go without saying that vaccines cannot “turn” anybody gay. There is no evidence that any vaccine has ever resulted in a person changing their sexual orientation. Being gay is not a choice, nor is it a side-effect of a vaccine.