Iran recalls ambassador over Eurovision ‘gay parade’Entertainment News Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Iran has recalled its ambassador to Azerbaijan after accusing the country of planning a “gay parade” for this coming Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The Telegraph reports that Azerbaijan’s hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest – a flamboyant annual pageant of pop music from around Europe – has been condemned by some Iranian clerics who have referred to the event as a “gay parade” – although no such event is planned.
The government of Azerbaijan has denied that a so-called “gay parade” will take place. “They are making statements about something that does not exist. We are holding Eurovision, not a gay parade,” an official said earlier in the week.
Ayatollah Sobhani, a senior Iranian cleric, reportedly issued a statement urging Muslims in the region to protest what he described as anti-Islamic behavior by Azerbaijan’s government.
“We heard that the government of Azerbaijan is hosting the international Eurovision Song Contest and that during this contest there will also be a gay parade,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted the cleric as saying.
There have been protests in the Azerbaijan capital, Baku, with demonstrators carrying pictures of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and banners that read, “Azerbaijan does not need clerics – homosexuals!”
This year’s contest was seen by the International Lesbian and Gay Association as an opportunity for Azerbaijan to “move toward openness” after concerns over the country’s gay rights record.
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