In a Friday sermon delivered at the Essalem Mosque in Sfax, Tunisia, on April 29, Sheikh Fathi Rebaï rejected calls for rights for homosexuals, saying that "cattle are more honorable" than them. Citing a hadith according to which both parties to a homosexual act should be executed, Sheikh Rebaï said that the only disagreement among Sunni scholars was over the method of execution, with the Hanafi school advocating throwing them down from a high place and then stoning them to death. Imam Rebaï's comments stirred criticism in the Tunisian press and social media in recent days.
Following are excerpts
Sheikh Fathi Rebaï: I am very sad to hear many voices in the Islamic countries calling for homosexuality. These calls are based on the notion of freedom. These voices call for homosexuals to get their so-called "rights." Who are they imitating by advocating for these rights? They are imitating Western societies, which have been corrupted by depravity, and immersed in the filth of depravity and the quagmire of sin and debauchery.
You imitate the foreigners and the non-Muslims in their perversions, their sins, and their debauchery. How I wish that we followed their example in their achievements, their precision, their professionalism, and their scientific, technological and industrial progress. If only we did that! But instead, we refrain from anything that would benefit us, and follow their example in everything that is harmful to us and threatens us. [Homosexuals] have managed to establish organizations and clubs that defend them, and demand representation for them in society and in public institutions. We have begun to hear voices calling for porn TV channels - as if we, as Islamic societies, do not have enough TV channels for whoredom, sins, and the spreading of depravity and abomination in society.
All types of abomination are haram,but [homosexuality] is the ugliest and most repulsive of all abominations. It is worse than adultery. My brothers, this crime does not merely run counter to natural human disposition, but to the natural disposition of the universe and even that of animals. Have you ever seen a male animal copulating with another male? Have you ever seen a female animal copulating with another female? [The Quran says]: "Do you think that most of them hear and understand? They are only like cattle - nay, even further astray from the path." Cattle are more honorable, because they do not act contrary to their natural disposition, with which Allah created them.
The [homosexuals] are mentally ill, to say the least. Until the late 1990s, Europe considered homosexuality to be a mental illness, which required treatment by a doctor. But in the late 1990s - around 1997 or 1996 - it changed the classification and no longer considered it an illness. How come? Because many [European] leaders and politicians are homosexuals. They want to spread homosexuality and corruption in the Islamic countries, in order to destroy our countries even more - as if the alcoholism, drug abuse, and lottery are not enough.
Listen to this hadith, my brothers. The Prophet Muhammad said: "Whoever you find engaged in sodomy - kill both the man who does it and the man to whom it is done." I will explain the hadith, so that I am not accused of belonging to ISIS, or of being a criminal, a terrorist, a takfirist, or a supporter of murder. This call to kill both the man who does it and the man to whom it is done is directed at the ruler who rules according to the shari'a. According to shari'a law, in the event of homosexual sex, both the man who does it and the man to whom it is done should die, if the latter has done it out of consent. The verdict for both is execution, because their sick souls cannot be cured. Their cure is execution. The only disagreement among the ulema was about the method of execution. According to the Hanafi school, the ruler should give the order for the homosexual to be taken to a high place and thrown off from there, and then to be stoned to death.