Erdogan throws support behind cleric accused of homophobia

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04/29/2020

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended the homophobic remarks of the country’s top Muslim cleric, Ali Erbas. Erbas, who is the head of Turkey’s directorate of religious affairs, on Friday said that Islam condemns homosexuality because “it brings illnesses and corrupts generations”. He added it also causes the HIV virus, that leads to AIDS. “Come and let’s fight together to protect people from such evil,” Erbas said in his weekly sermon. Human rights groups and the European Union have long accused Erdogan and his government of violating the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ community and women. Turkey’s lawyers association over freedom of expression condemned Erbas’s comment as harmful to human dignity, but a spokesman for Erdogan’s ruling AKP party accused the association of harboring a “fascist mentality.”

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