The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has claimed that terrorism is being fuelled partly by “honest people” who are upset with gays.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, made the comments in an interview posted to the Church’s official website.

In the interview, translated by an LGBT church group, he claimed that while many of those fighting in Syria are motivated by greed or the desire to conquer, many of them are “honest people” who join out of “truly religious grounds”

He mused: “And what could be the reason? Have we ever stopped to think about it?

“You become a fighter for the Caliphate. So what’s a Caliphate?

“It is a society centered around faith and God where people follow religious laws.

“You are creating a civilization that is new by comparison to the established one that is godless, secular and even radical in its secularism.”

He claimed: “What we are seeing now is this godless civilization is reaching maturity, in as much by through the will of the people, who proclaim it the highest of virtues but then wearing a cross is banned.

“We can have parades for the sexual minorities – that is supported, but a million French Christian protestors defending family values are broken up by police.

“If you call non-traditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison.”

“I could offer more simply frightening examples of how the godless civilization is growing yet here they are drawing attention to young people being converted by extremists.

“Look how they build the world – an unholy world, but we invite you to build God’s world.

“And they respond to that; it is for this they give their lives.”