Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia, with harsh punishments ranging from floggings to the death penalty.
But Dr Salman al-Ouda, a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and director of Islam Today, has called for an end to the persecution of gay people.
According to the Jerusalem Post, he affirmed in an interview: “Even though homosexuality is considered a sin in all the Semitic holy books, it does not require any punishment in this world. It is a sin that will accompany its committee in the life after death.”
He added: “Homosexuals are not deviating from Islam. Homosexuality is a grave sin, but those who say that homosexuals deviate from Islam are the real deviators.
“By condemning homosexuals to death they are committing a graver sin than homosexuality itself.”