As debates in Malawi about whether to decriminalise same-sex sexual activity continue, the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) is calling for gay people to be condemned to death, saying “even animals like goats don’t do this.”

Last week, MAM secretary General Dr Salmin Omar Idrussi told MalawiMuslims.com: “Malawi is regarded as a secular state but the country is blessed with God fearing citizens who can’t afford to deviate from God’s commandments for the sake of pleasing others who practice the act.

“Even animals like goats don’t do this, what more with human beings like us who were blessed with wisdom by the Almighty God? The offenders need to be handed death penalty as a way of making sure that the issue is curbed.

“The majority obviously is against legalising this sinful act. Therefore it will be necessary for people to be asked whether they are happy with the current law which attracts a maximum penalty of a 14 year jail term.”

The call comes after three men sentenced under the country’s anti-gay laws last month begun their appeal to the high court.

In May 2012, President Joyce Banda initially pledged to repeal the laws, but later declared that Malawi was “not ready” to decriminalise homosexuality.

Enforcement of anti-gay laws was temporarily halted in November 2012, when then-Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara directed arrests to stop, pending a debate in parliament.

However, after a fierce reaction from churches and lobbying groups,enforcement of the laws was reinstated a few days later.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Malawi with custodial sentences of up to 14 years imprisonment.