Masked Islamic State terrorists throw man accused of being gay off of a high-rise building.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Challenging the Islamic view on homosexuality, a Saudi religious preacher has argued that although homosexuality is a sin, it should not be punishable by law, the Saudi daily Eilaph reported Saturday, citing an interview in a Swedish newspaper.
In the interview, Salman Odah stated that "even though homosexuality is considered a sin in all the Semitic holy books, it does not require any punishment in this world. It is a sin that will accompany its committer in the life after death."
"Homosexuals are not deviating from Islam. Homosexuality is a grave sin, but those who say that homosexuals deviate from Islam are the real deviators. By condemning homosexuals to death they are committing a graver sin than homosexuality itself," Odah further said.
"Even though homosexuality does not distance oneself from Islam, the Islam does not encourage individuals who have same-sex attraction to show their feelings in public," Odah added.
The Saudi cleric's remarks aroused fiery reactions on Arab social media networks, where a campaign under the hashtag "Odah permits homosexuality" was launched.
"According to Sharia law, homosexuals should be killed. How can you say homosexuality should not be punishable, Sheikh?" Fadi Matiri, a Saudi citizen commented on Twitter.
A Twitter user named "Saudi rights activist" suggested that Odah's remarks are a result of an American outcry over LGBT rights in the Saudi Kingdom.
"Five days ago a delegation of the American Congress signed a document against gays' execution in Saudi Arabia. What is your explanation?" he asked Odah.
Sixty-year-old Odah is a prominent supporter of the Saudi regime, who was "rehabilitated" in the 1990's after inciting the opposition against the regime.