Egypt’s Grand Mufti has said while homosexuality is not accepted in Islam, gay people are not second-class humans.
Shawki Allam, who was appointed in 2013, in known to be moderate and renounces fanaticism in Islam.
In Sunni Islam, the Grand Mufti is the highest official of religious law and often cited as the most valuable source of information on how to practically apply Islamic law.
He offers fatwas – legal opinions and edicts – on Islamic law to private clients and also assists judges in deciding cases, although his recommendations are not binding fro criminal courts.
Speaking to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, he described openness and the cooperation with people of other faiths two pillars of moderate Islam – something Allam says extends to homosexuality.
Asked about the Orlando massacre, in which a gunman shot 49 people in a gay club, and how it is compatible with moderate Islam, the cleric said while homosexuality is a sin, it doesn’t make gay people fair game.
‘Even if we see homosexuality as a religious sin, that doesn’t give anyone the right to injure someone else,’ he said.
‘Every person is equally sacrosanct.
‘What happened in Orlando is completely inacceptable. We cannot take the law into our own hands.’
Islam, in all its schools of thought, had to recognize and respect the legal system, Allam said, but pointed out it was not the only religion to condemn homosexuality.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria’s pope, Tawadros II., quoted the Bible to denounce and outlaw homosexuality, the Mufti said.
‘Yes, it’s not allowed, religiously, and not an accepted practice in correctly construed Islam,’ he said.
‘But that doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt homosexual people or to take the law into their own hands.’