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Elton John Called ‘The Devil’s Work’ by Russian Religious Leader

Elton John
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Elton John‘s upcoming tour stops in Russia are still a few months away, but the controversy surrounding his arrival already appears to be reaching a fever pitch. Already under fire from a Russian parents’ group that’s calling for the concerts to be canceled because of his sexual orientation, John is now being called “the devil’s work” by a leader of one of the country’s Islamist sects.

Billboard reports that conservative imam Seidzhagfar Lutfullin, from the country’s Tartarstan region, told Russian press that John is “the devil’s work in the shape of a pederast” and decreed that “Sodomy … is what the world famous homosexual Elton John, (sic) who recently wed a man in public, is promoting.” He went on to urge a boycott of John’s Russian concerts, scheduled for Dec. 7 and 8.

As Billboard notes, the imam is the second Russian religious leader to make disparaging remarks about John in recent days; the report also quotes a coordinator from the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods as saying, “The statement by this gay guy — Elton John — about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert in Moscow is an insult to all Russian citizens.”

For his part, John has already vowed to move forward with the concerts, despite a growing boycott among performers and celebrities disdainful of the country’s recent anti-homosexual legislation. “There’s two avenues of thought: Do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation,” he mused. “As a gay man, I can’t leave those people 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.”

Next: Top 10 Elton John Songs

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