Attacks on the gay community have increased in Liberia after a coalition of churches 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 toward gays has escalated,” LGBT rights activist Leroy Ponpon told Reuters. “They're even asking for the death penalty. We're living in fear.”

Of the nearly 10,000 people who have been infected with Ebola in Liberia since March, around half have died.

Two prominent Christian organizations in the West African nation have told its members that homosexuality is at the root of the Ebola outbreak, including the Liberian Council of Churches and the Catholic Church in Liberia.

Archbishop Lewis Zeigler in May said that “one of the major transgressions against God for which He may be punishing Liberia is the act of homosexuality.”

According to the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the crime of “voluntary sodomy” is a first-degree misdemeanor in Liberia.