An Imam in Bosnia has come under fire after he said that the cancellation of Pride is “a grain of happiness” in the age of coronavirus.
Muhamed Velic, a well known Imam with almost 75,000 followers on Facebook, praised the cancellation of a Pride march in the country due to COVID-19.
“The media informs us that the homosexual parade in Sarajevo has been postponed due to the coronavirus,” Velic wrote.
“In every misfortune and tragedy there is also a grain of happiness, goodness and beauty.
“Thank Allah for everything. May dear Allah give the corona and gay parade never return to our city and country!” he added.
The Imam has been criticised over his anti-LGBT+ comments.
His post has been liked more than 4,000 times, with many commenters praising Velic for his anti-LGBT+ views.
However, some commenters intervened in the discussion to express support and solidarity with the country’s queer community.
The office of the Grand Mufti, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Bosnia, has distanced itself from Velic following his comments.
In every misfortune and tragedy there is also a grain of happiness, goodness and beauty.
“This is his personal position and it is not the position of the entire Islamic community,” Muhamed Jusic, an adviser to the Grand Mufti, told Radio Free Europe.
Velic told the publication that he did not “spread hate speech” and defended his anti-LGBT+ comments.
Organisers were forced to cancel the second Pride march in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to coronavirus.
The first Pride march in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place last September, with the second scheduled for 23 August this year.
However, organisers were forced to cancel the event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“We emphasis that we are postponing the march due to the epidemiological situation, but we draw attention to a number of problems that are the reality of the organisation of LGBT+ public events,” organisers said in a statement last week.
LGBT+ activist Branko Ćulibrk slammed Velic over his anti-LGBT+ comments.
“It is horrible that Effendi Velic puts the current situation with the coronavirus and the cancellation of the gay pride on the same level,” Ćulibrk told Fair Planet.
“This is about the struggle for human rights that citizens cannot simply have, but must fight for.”