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Friday, 24 October 2014

Gay Liberians Blamed for Bringing Ebola to Africa


Ponpon, an LGBT campaigner in the Liberian capital, says gays have been harassed, physically attacked and a few have had their cars smashed by people blaming them for the hemorrhagic fever, after religious leaders in Liberia said Ebola was a punishment from God for homosexuality.

“Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence towards gays has escalated. They’re even asking for the death penalty. We’re living in fear,” Ponpon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Monrovia.


Ebola has infected almost 10,000 people in West Africa since March, killing around half its victims. Liberia is the worst hit country where poverty, corruption and civil war have left a weak health system unable to cope with the exponential spread of the disease.

Some religious leaders have their own interpretation of the causes of Ebola.





Earlier this year, the Liberian Council of Churches said in a statement that God was angry with Liberians “over corruption and immoral acts” such as homosexuality, and that Ebola was a punishment.

In May, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of the Catholic Church of Liberia said that “one of the major transgressions against God for which He may be punishing Liberia is the act of homosexuality,” local media reported.

Francois Patuel, Amnesty International’s representative in West Africa, said there had been reports of threats and violence against the LGBTI community in Monrovia since the incendiary remarks made by the local Christian leaders.

“Amnesty has received pictures of cars that reportedly belong to gays with their windows smashed as well as reports that gays have been forced from their homes and had to go into hiding,” Patuel told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Neither the Catholic Church nor the Liberian Council of Churches could be reached in Monrovia. Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Episcopal Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment

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