Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) says Islam’s stand on homosexuals is that they must face the death penalty.
But MAM general secretary Sheikh Salmim Idruss Omar said his association has never pushed for such a proposal to government as was reported by online Nyasatimes.
Omar said: “Death penalty for those involved in homosexuality is Islam religion’s stand. It is what the Holy Quran teaches us and we stick to that.
“But at no point did we push that proposal to government. It is something that was discussed among us and put on our website; we had no intention whatsoever to push government on that.”
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Fahad Assani, while admitting such a proposal was never made officially to his office, said government would not have entertained it if it were made.
Assani said: “We would have treated such a demand as unreasonable. Malawi believes in moderation and not extremisim.
“For those who do not agree with homosexuality, the issue should never be a wild proposal to start killing these people. That cannot happen. We are also mindful of matters related to that currently in court.”
Centre for the Development of People (Cedep), a human rights civil society group that fights for the rights of the minority, received MAM’s statement with shock.
Cedep executive director Gift Trapence said if that proposal was ever pushed to government, it would have been unfounded because it misses the fundamental principles of the Republican Constitution.
He said although the proposal was never pushed to government; the fact that it has been made public gave Cedep a right to respond.
Said the activist: “Religious groupings should not be in the forefront to incite violence against fellow beings. Such sentiment is tantamount to make people taking the law into their hands against minorities.”
Meanwhile, there is a matter in court where Cedep and other organisations are fighting with government to have laws that criminalises homosexuality declared unconstitutional.
The matter was set to be heard by the High Court in Blantyre as confirmation cases regarding three men that were sentenced in 2011 by a magistrate court to long prison terms ranging from 10 to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour for their involvement in homosexuality.
Government objected to the proceedings on January 20, arguing the matter, being constitutional in nature, was supposed to have certification by the Chief Justice.
But Judge Dunstain Mwaungulu dismissed government’s application, arguing it was not mandatory for the Chief Justice to certify any matter.
Unsatisfied with the High Court’s ruling, government appealed Mwaungulu’s ruling in the Malawi Supreme Court, arguing the High Court judge erred in law.
The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal is yet to hear the appeal.
The three young men serving the prison terms for their involvement in homosexuality are Mussa Chiwisi, Mathew Bellow and Amon Champyuni.