This Iraqi cleric and former militia leader has claimed that the coronavirus pandemic is linked to the “legalisation of gay marriage” around the world.
Prominent cleric and politician Muqtada Al-Sadr, 45, who leads a Shia militia in the country, made the controversial comments in a post on his official social media page.
He wrote in a message entitled “Heavenly Message”: “One of the worst things that led to this pandemic is the legalisation of gay marriages. I, hereby take this chance, to call on all governments to revoke such laws immediately. Let us repent for this sin to end this punishment.”
Other netizens were quick to slam the cleric, such as ‘ali_almikdam’ who wrote: “I have a question: Does God own a phone and send SMS messages to Moqtada Al-Sadr in particular, and then Al-Sadr posts it?”
Britain’s ambassador to Iraq, Stephen Hickey, shared Al-Sadr’s message and said the UK has no plans to revisit any of its laws that grant the LGBTQ+ community equal right. Hickey also called for the need to follow medical and academic advice to fight COVID-19.
Al-Sadr voiced opposition to the US presence in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was ousted and leads the Peace Companies, a militia born out of the Mahdi Army which fought against US and Iraqi forces from 2003 to 2008.
According to the latest statistics from the Johns Hopkins University, Iraq has suffered 547 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 42 deaths.
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