Russia may ban "homosexual propaganda" nationwide
When a dozen masked men entered a Moscow night club during a "coming out party" that campaigner Samburov organized in October, he thought they were part of the show. But then one of the masked men yelled, "Have you ordered up a fight? Here you go!" The men overturned tables, smashed dishes and beat, kicked and sprayed mace at the five dozen men and women who had gathered at the gay-friendly Freedays club, Samburov and the club's administration said.
Four club patrons were injured, including a young woman who got broken glass in her eye, police said. Although a police station was nearby, Samburov said, it took police officers half an hour to arrive. The attackers remain unidentified.
On the next day, an Orthodox priest said he regretted that his religious role had not allowed him to participate in the beating.
"Until this scum gets off of Russian land, I fully share the views of those who are trying to purge our motherland of it," Rev. Sergiy Rybko was quoted as saying by the Orthodoxy and World online magazine. "We either become a tolerant Western state where everything is allowed and lose our Christianity and moral foundations or we will be a Christian people who live in our God-protected land in purity and godliness."
In other parts of Russia, gays feel even less secure. Bagaudin Abduljalilov moved to Moscow from Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where he says some gays have been beaten and had their hands cut off, sometimes by their own relatives, for bringing shame on their families.
"You don't have any human rights down there," he said. "Anything can be done to you with impunity."
Shortly before moving to Moscow, Abduljalilov left Islam to become a Protestant Christian, but was expelled from a seminary after telling the dean he was gay. He also has had trouble finding a job as a television journalist because of discrimination against people from Dagestan.
"I love Russia, but I want another Russia," said Abduljalilov, 30, who now works as a clerk. "It's a pity I can't spend my life on creative projects instead of banging my head against the wall and repeating, `I'm normal, I'm normal.' "
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