John Shearer/Invision for Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP Images
Elton John's upcoming concert in Russia is sparking calls for a boycott from conservatie Muslims because he's gay.
A Russian Islamic cleric has launched a campaign to boycott the "Sad Songs" singer's Dec. 7 and 8 concerts in Moscow and Kazan, the capitol of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, accusing John of being "the devil's work in the shape of a pederast" for his advocacy for same-sex marriage.
In a statement posted on his mosque's website and picked up by Russian media outlets, Imam Seidzhagfar Lutfullin urged followers not to go to the show, asserting the Rocket Man's appearance could bring biblical retribution to the city, the way he claimed God supposedly destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
"The two legendary biblical cities which were destroyed by Allah for the sins of its inhabitants—for same-sex relationships," Lutfullin said, adding, "Homosexuality is promoted by Elton John [who is] known throughout the world to be gay."
Tatarsatan is a region in Russia mostly populated by Muslims.
Islamic leaders aren't the only one lashing out at the British music legend because of his sexuality.
Per The Moscow Times, a leader of the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods last week petitioned Moscow authorities to shut down John's concert because of his support for the gay community, calling gays "perverts." The Ural Parents Committee, a group of conservative activists, have also demanded President Vladimir Putin bar John from playing.
And this past June, a communist group protested John's July performance in Krasnodar, calling John's outfits "homosexual propaganda."
The antigay attitudes out of Russia have been constant ever since a law was passed this year banning gay propaganda, prompting an outcry from the LGBT community, which is worried about gays being subjected to intimidation and a climate of violence. It's also led to calls for bans on gigs by such outspoken gay rights supporters as Lady Gaga and Madonna and even their prosecution for allegedly violating Russian immigration laws.
For his part, the "Still Standing" hitmaker wasn't taking the homophobia lying down.
In an interview with the U.K.'s Guardian last month, John vowed to go ahead with his Russian tour despite the backlash.
"As a gay man, I can't leave [the Russian gay community] on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go," he said.