The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, Pope Shenuda III, has condemned homosexuality as a sin and branded homosexuals "unchaste," in an interview published Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. "Homosexuality runs counter to moral values, it's an adulterous sin...reflecting the individual's detachment from moral values, traditions, and customs," he told the Egyptian government magazine Al-Mussawar. "Homosexuals are unchaste. They proclaim their homosexuality loud and clear, with pride, and demand their rights as homosexuals," Shenuda added, who has said he received a death threat during a recent visit to Australia because of his antigay stand. They are "prepared to turn against anyone who does not share their opinion, and we must oppose them."
Shenuda said the Coptic Church, whose community in Egypt numbers between 6 million and 10 million out of a mostly Muslim population of about 70 million people, has no gay members because any gay members would be expelled immediately. The pope announced on September 7 that he would launch a worldwide campaign against the "scourge" of homosexuality.