A Manchester Imam has allegedly stated that the execution of sexually active gay men is justified.

Mr. Arshad Misbahi, who is based at the Manchester Central Mosque, is said to have confirmed his views in a conversation to Dr John Casson, a local psychotherapist.

Dr Casson told PinkNews “I asked if the execution of gay Muslims in Iran and Iraq was an acceptable punishment in Sharia law, or the result of culture, not religion.

“He told me that in a true Islamic state, such punishments were part of Islam: if the person had had a trial, at which four witnesses testified that they had seen the actual homosexual acts.”

“It is part of the central tenets of Islam: that sex outside marriage is forbidden; this is stated in the Koran and the prophet Mohammed had stated that these punishments were due to such behaviours,’” the Imam is alleged to have told Dr Casson.

George Broadhead, secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, said he was appalled by these comments.

“Given the explicit condemnation of homosexual practices and the punishments meted out to their perpetrators in Islamic holy texts, it is hardly surprising.

“GALHA has written to Manchester City Council asking it to publicly condemn this outrageous and dangerous expression of homophobia.”

Peter Tatchell, of gay rights group OutRage!, said he was disturbed that British Islamic clergy would endorse the executions of gay and lesbian Muslims:

“Muslim and gay people know the pain of prejudice and discrimination. We should be working together to challenge homophobia and Islamophobia. I hope liberal Muslims will speak out in defence of the human rights of lesbians and gay men,” he said.