The head of Malawi’s Muslim organisation has called for the country’s gay people to be executed.
In an interview with malawimuslims.com, Dr Salmin Omar Idrussi, the Secretary General of the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), said that while Malawi is regarded as a secular state, its citizens “can’t afford to deviate from God’s commandments for the sake of pleasing others who practice the act.”
He went on to argue: “Even animals like goats don’t do this, what more with human beings like us who were blessed with wisdom by the Almighty God?
“The offenders need to be handed death penalty as a way of making sure that the issue is curbed,” he added.
Dr Idrussi also called for a referendum for Malawians to decide whether or not to increase the current penalty of 14 years in prison for homosexual acts.
There are currently three men – Amon Champyunu, Mathews Bello and Mussa Chiwisi – serving jail sentences of between 10 and 14 years in Malawi after they were convicted of homosexuality in 2011.
In is unclear what is happening to a High Court challenge by various groups, backed by the United Nations HIV and AIDS campaign UNAIDS, to overturn the criminalisation of homosexuality in Malawi and to free the men.
It’s been reported that the government has succeeded in its Supreme Court of Appeal bid to stop the review proceedings.
The issue of LGBT rights in Malawi was thrust into the international spotlight in 2010 when Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment on charges related to same-sex sexual conduct.
In May 2012, President Joyce Banda announced her intention to overturn the country’s ban on homosexuality but she later reversed her stance, saying that the majority of Malawians were not in favour of this.
In November 2012 it was reported that Malawi had “suspended” laws criminalising homosexuality pending a parliamentary vote, but three days later Attorney General and Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara made a u-turn, stating: “There was no such announcement and there was no discussion on same-sex marriage.”