Ghana’s chief imam uses his coronavirus address to the nation to call gay people ‘demonic’. Yes, really

Ghana's chief imam uses coronavirus address to call gay people 'demonic'

In a speech calling on the country to adhere to the president’s directive on coronavirus, Ghana’s chief imam has also managed to call LGBT+ people “demonic”.

Sheikh Dr Osamanu Sharubutu addressed the country via a broadcast from his house, after Ghana’s president Akufo-Addo banned usual meeting at mosques, wedding and other gatherings.

“This is a difficult moment for Ghana but in order to stay safe, it is advisable, all in the Muslim community goes according to what president Akufo-Addo said yesterday,” Sharubutu said.

The chief imam used the speech to call for hand sanitiser dispensers to be placed outside mosques and for political parties to stop using coronavirus as an opportunity for point scoring.

He also, bizarrely, used his televised address to call on president Akufo-Addo not to allow any meetings of LGBT+ people – saying that it’s “demonic” and “shameful” for Muslim people to engage in gay sexual activities.

“The almighty Allah created woman for a man and vice versa. It is against the holy Quaran to indulge in such unacceptable behaviour. I am urging all not to indulge in it,” Sharubutu said.

Ghana still has colonial-era laws prohibiting gay sex.

Sharubutu’s comments come after a history-making LGBT+ rights conference in Ghana was banned after an outcry from conservative religious groups.

The outcry included another top imam calling LGBT+ people “demonic”.

The Pan Africa ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) was set to hold its 2020 annual conference in Accra, Ghana, in July. It would have been the organisation’s first conference held in West Africa.

The conference aimed to develop strategies to improve LGBT+ rights across Africa, protect queer youth and increase awareness of LGBT+ issues across the continent.

But Ashanti regional chief Imam Sheihk Muumin Abdul Haroun, a well-respected religious leader in the country, vowed to stop the “demonic” conference from coming to Ghana.

Confirming that the LGBT+ conference had been cancelled, a spokesperson for the Ghana ministry of gender, children and social protection told Reuters: “[The] Ghana government won’t allow such [a] conference and that is it.”

When asked why, they simply responded: “Not because of coronavirus.”