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Reuters

Sigmund Freud would probably have had a field day with this.

A leading British theological historian has claimed that Western culture is hated in many other parts of the world because of its alleged "obsession" with sex.

Speaking at the Hay literary festival, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch – who also presents BBC TV's Sex and the Church – said the "pressing of sexual imagery on to the world" leads to Islamic extremists wanting to "kill people in the name of purifying the world".

And it goes well beyond the Islamists in the Middle East and Africa. The Oxford professor said the hatred of Western culture could also be seen in Vladimir Putin's Russia.

"It seems to me that it is about sex. A unique feature of Western culture is that it loves talking about sex, it obsesses about sex, it presses sexual imagery on to the world," he said, according to The Times.

"Other cultures think about sex a lot but they do not talk about it and they find it intensely embarrassing and frustrating that the West talks about it."

Professor MacCulloch added that there were other factors in the jihadis' hatred of all things Western, including women's roles were taking in an increasingly equal society.

"The anger that other cultures feel towards western sexual openness; it is so much of the murderous anger which we are seeing in Boko Haram, Islamic State and other revivalist movements of the 20th century," he said.

"Islam, in particular, is the religion of angry young men who are terrified by the way in which women's roles have changed in the last 50 years."

Professor MacCulloch, a deacon in the Church of England, has described how as a gay man he could not proceed further within the church. He said that Western Christian churches were still tearing themselves apart about many sexual issues, with the CofE having been "so stupid, so self-defeating" in putting a "quadruple lock" on having same-sex marriages within churches.

"One of the greatest pastoral opportunities you can have is a wedding day," he said. "You can do so much on a wedding day. And here was the church stopping that possibility. As a loyal Anglican I feel really angry about it."