In an unusual show of unity, Russia’s top Muslim and Jewish religious leaders have denounced Moscow’s Gay Pride Parade, planned for later this year.

The country’s Chief Rabbi, Berl Lazar, told the Russian news agency Interfax, that should a gay pride parade take place, it “would be a blow for morality”. This comes after Russia’s leading Muslim cleric, Mufti Talgat Tajuddin, hinted earlier in the week at the threat of violence against participants in the planned parade.

Alluding to the recent violent protests around the world by Muslims over the publishing of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, he was quoted as saying that, “I would like to assure you, that the parade of homosexuals, it is not less offensive to the feelings of believers than any caricatures in newspapers.”

The city of Moscow itself has also come out against the parade, refusing to grant a permit to allow the event to take place. A city official has stated that the capital’s mayor is personally opposed to the event and that any attempts to go ahead with the parade without the city’s permission will be “severely suppressed.”

In turn, Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organisers of the planned march, has said that they will take the authorities to court – if necessary to the European Court of human rights – to force the city to allow the event to go ahead. He added that the right to marches and demonstrations is guaranteed by the Russian constitution.

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