Following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on June 5, 2006.
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Kerry, who ran against Bush, was supported by homosexuals and nudists. But it was Bush who won [the elections], because he is Christian, right-wing, tenacious, and unyielding. In other words, the religious overcame the perverted. So we cannot blame all Americans and Westerners.
But unfortunately, because the Westerners - Americans and others - want to flatter these people on account of the elections, a disaster occurs. In order to succeed and win the elections, he flatters these people, rather than saying to them: No, you are sinning against yourselves, against society, and against humanity. This is forbidden. Instead of leveling with them, people flatter them to win their votes. This is the disaster that has befallen humanity.
Interviewer: How should a homosexual or a lesbian be punished? We mentioned the story of the people of Sodom and how Allah punished them, but how should someone who commits this abomination be punished today?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: The same punishment as any sexual pervert - the same as the fornicator.
The schools of thought disagree about the punishment. Some say they should be punished like fornicators, and then we distinguish between married and unmarried men, and between married and unmarried women. Some say both should be punished the same way. Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement.
The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.
Interviewer: There is an issue that some people may find strange. If homosexuals and lesbians belong to the same category - an inclination towards the same sex - why are there different punishments for men and women, for homosexuals and lesbians?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: A punishment for who?
Interviewer: For homosexuals and lesbians - the punishment for a woman who favors women, and for a man who favors men.
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Lesbianism is not as bad as homosexuality, in practical terms.
Interviewer: Should a man be punished for having homosexual tendencies?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Yes, he should.
Interviewer: Or maybe he should be punished only for committing this sin?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: He should be punished just like a fornicator. What is fornication? It is a sexual perversion. A perversion cannot possibly be innate.
Interviewer: Some Arab authors have begun to discuss this openly, in newspapers and in their books. Homosexual characters appear in some Arab films. In addition, homosexuals gather in public, and show up at parties in a loathsome manner.
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Not in all countries, only a few...
Interviewer: In many Arab countries.
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Perhaps you in Morocco have that...
Interviewer: Not only in Morocco. Also in other countries, which I won't mention.
What is the position of Islamic law on this public display?
Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: This is the calamity of societies. When sin and abomination are concealed, they don't cause much harm.
But the calamity becomes widespread, when it stops being a secret and becomes public.
We are not hostile towards these people. On the contrary, we pity them. But we do not want to give them an opportunity, like the Westerners, who consider this a normal phenomenon, and it has become widespread, I'm sad to say.