Pope Francis embraces Muslim leader who thinks being gay is a ‘disease’ hours after condemning persecution of homosexuality

Pope Francis meets the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb

Just hours after comparing the persecution of gay people to Hitler and Nazism, Pope Francis gave a warm hug to a Muslim leader who thinks homosexuality is a disease and that gay people should be executed.

The same day (November 15), the Pope gave a speech at the World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law in which he said: “It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism… With the persecution of Jews, gypsies, and people with homosexual tendencies… that is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.”

Ahmed el-Tayeb is the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, thought by many to be highest authority in Sunni Islam, and he met with Pope Francis for “cordial discussions” which included “the protection of minors in the digital world”.

But Ahmed el-Tayeb’s “protection” certainly does not extend to LGBT+ people, Jews or women.

He previously said in an interview: “The concept of human rights is full of ticking time bombs… No Muslim society could ever consider sexual liberty, homosexuality and so on to be a personal right.

“Muslim societies consider these things to be diseases which must be fought and treated… It is a rebellion both against religion and what is held sacrosanct by society.

“Apostasy is a crime… An apostate should be asked to repent and if he does not he should be killed.”

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), he also said in an interview with Egypt’s Channel 1: “[Modern civilisation] led us to the point where it is very legitimate, legal, socially acceptable, and considered to be in good taste for a man to marry another man.

“In a [gay] marriage certificate, they write that John is the wife, or in [lesbian marriage] they write that Nadine is the husband, for example. By God, even the animal kingdom did not go that far.

“Brother, if they have gotten to the point of legitimising homosexuality… What else can you say about a marriage between two men? Allah’s punishment for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah is well-known. Pay attention! The laws of Allah are immutable, so the punishment will come sooner or later.”

In the same interview, on the topic of husbands beating their wives, he said: “The Quran allows using this method… That is to say, the husband is allowed to resort to this kind of treatment… It is a situation one may resort to when there is no other way, and when he strongly believes that this would help resolve the problem. Only in this case, the husband is allowed to beat his wife.”

In another interview with the same Egyptian channel, he said that Jewish people consider everyone who is not Jewish “extremely inferior”.

He added: “They practice a terrible hierarchy, and they are not ashamed to admit it, because it is written in the Torah – with regard to killing, enslavement, and so on… These practices and beliefs have made people, even non-Muslims, hate them.”