A senior advisor of the proposed Muslim centre near Ground Zero says that homosexuality is mainly caused by emotional or sexual abuse.

Abdallah Adhami, 44, said in a lecture that being gay was a “painful trial” which results from past trauma.

The lecture is available to view on his non-profit website Sakeenah.org, news channel NY1 reports.

In the lecture, Mr Adhami said: “An enormously overwhelming percentage of people struggle with homosexual feeling because of some form of violent emotional or sexual abuse at some point in their life.

“A small, tiny percentage of people are born with a natural inclination that they cannot explain. You find this in the animal kingdom at some level as well.”

He said that gays must fight this “propensity”.

According to the New York Post, Mr Adhami also said that Muslims who leave Islam and preach their new faith should be jailed.

He said: “If you look over the Koran from cover to cover, you literally have the right to reject God’s message. The only thing you do not have the right to do is spread this conviction, lest you, quote-unquote, ‘pollute’ others.”

“If someone leaves the din, leaves the path privately, they cannot be touched. If someone preaches about apostasy or preaches their views, they’re jailed . . . Many jurists have said they have to be killed.”

He joined the Park51 project this month and is listed as a senior advisor and imam on plans to build the new centre.

The site of the building has caused controversy, as it will be close to where the Twin Towers were destroyed by terrorists nine years ago.