Sunday, December 10

British Islamic scholar faces ban from Australia for preaching death is the sentence for homosexuality



Farrokh Sekaleshfar preached in Orlando in March but no evidence he influenced Omar Mateen who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando

Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a British-born doctor and senior Shi’ite Muslim scholar, arrives at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Sydney, Australia, June 14, 2016 Reuters

Australia is urgently reviewing the visa of a British Islamic scholar who toured Orlando in March and had preached that “death is the sentence for homosexual acts.

Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a senior Shi’ite Muslim scholar, is currently giving a series of lectures at an Islamic centre in Sydney on the topic of spirituality throughout the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Sekaleshfar said in a lecture in Michigan in 2013 that in an Islamic society, the death penalty should be carried out for homosexuals who engaged in sodomy and that in Islam this was “nothing to be embarrassed about.

“We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of him now, because he’s contaminating society,” he said in a lecture.

There is no evidence of any link between his comments and the American Muslim man, Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday – the deadliest mass shooting in the United States – or that Mateen attended Sekaleshfar’s lectures.

Sekaleshfar said he condemned the Orlando shooting as a barbaric act of terror that was in no way justified.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he has zero tolerance for people to come to Australia who preach hatred and his government was reviewing Sekaleshfar’s visa “as we speak.

His visa is a legal matter and has to be dealt with in the appropriate way, but his visa is being reviewed at the direction of the minister, even as we speak.

Australia’s immigration department has previously cited character grounds to cancel or deny visas to pick up artist Julian Blanc, US anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman the neo-masculinist Daryush Valizadeh.

Opposing leader, Bill Shorten asked how on earth he got a visa.

We’ve got a character test in our visas. I don’t see, if this person here, and he’s said these things… how this fellow got a visa, he said.

Sekaleshfar said his comments in 2013 were made in the context of a lecture on Islamic law and homosexuality and should not have been interpreted as a call for any Tom, Dick, or Harry to carry out a sentence wherever, whenever they like.

In his 2013 lecture, Sekaleshfar said: There is nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence.

Islam doesn’t accept people’s faith to be compromised, to be threatened and it has to be taken seriously, he said. With homosexuals it is the same.“ Sekaleshfar gave a different lecture in Orlando in March.

Since being in Sydney, Sekaleshfar’s Facebook page has been removed and his name has been removed from the speakers list on the website of the Muslim Group of USA and Canada.