Australia And The Hateful Muslim Cleric


In the wake of the Orlando shooting where Omar Mateen targeted patrons of gay nightclub Pulse, killing 49 and wounding over 50 more, questions are finally being asked about attitudes towards homosexuality within Muslim communities.

The data alone is incredibly troubling. Staying close to home for just a moment, 100% of British Muslims say that homosexuality is unacceptable. Over half of British Muslims say that it should be criminalised. Attitudes elsewhere in the Muslim world do not make for comforting reading either:


As Jerry Coyne notes over on his website, many mainstream publications are now beginning to wake up to a problem that secular activists and ex-Muslims have been shouting about for some time:

‘Although there are still a few regressive Leftists who can’t bear to utter the word “Islam” in the same sentence as words like “terrorism,” “homophobia,” or “misogyny,” I sense that the previously clueless are beginning to see the connection…’

Of course other stripes of Abrahamic Faith have blood on their hands in this regard, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali notes in the article ‘Islam’s Jihad Against Homosexuals’:

‘That isn’t to say that some people of other faiths and ideologies aren’t hostile to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community. Nor is to say that Islamic extremists don’t target other minorities, in addition to engaging in wholly indiscriminate violence. But it is important to establish why a man like Omar Mateen could be motivated to murder 49 people in a gay nightclub, interrupting the slaughter, as law-enforcement officials reported, to dial 911, proclaim his support for Islamic State and then pray to Allah’.

This brings me to a video that has surfaced of a British born Muslim cleric named Farrokh Sekaleshfar speaking in 2013 at the University of Michigan:

In the clip, this cleric claims that “death is the sentence” for homosexuality in Islam as well as saying “Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now”.

Why is this video topical all of a sudden? Because the same cleric also spoke at an Islamic Center in Sanford, just outside of Orlando in April.

Mr Sekaleshfar was in Australia until very recently, but left of his own accord when it was reported that the Australian authorities would be reviewing his right to be there, given his comments from 2013 being dug up.

According to Sky News, Peter Dutton, Australia’s minister for immigration said “This individual has decided to leave of his own accord last night which we welcome and it will be very difficult if not impossible for him to return back to our country.”

Also, according to the same report:

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said Mr Sekaleshfar should never have received a visa in the first place: “Let’s be clear: this government has allowed a visa to be issued to someone with despicable and abhorrent views of gay hate.

“Homophobia of the most violent and vile nature,” he told reporters.

It seems clear that Australia is affirming a zero tolerance policy on such views and that they would remove or refuse entry to anyone espousing them.

Which raises an uncomfortable question for the Australian authorities. Can they show how Mr Sekaleshfar’s ‘vile’ comments are out of step with mainstream tenets of Islam?

Take this from Muhammad, the religion’s founder and prophet for instance:

Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lut (Lot), kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.

Given the statistics documented above and the words of Muhammad himself, is ‘death as punishment’ for homosexuality likely or less likely to be a fringe belief? Are we now to believe that conservative, Australian Muslims vocally affirming agreement with their prophet on this matter could find themselves in trouble with the law? How many Muslims would be eager to say Muhammad got it wrong on this point do you think?

It would be helpful to know whether exception was taken to affirming death as the punishment for homosexuality or the ‘let’s get rid of them’ part.

I actually think religious people should be able to tell us exactly what their holy books say, regardless of how hateful and archaic it may be – just so long as they don’t cross the line in calling for others to act on these injunctions (which Sekaleshfar appears to have done).

Banning someone from affirming their beliefs, however abhorrent they may be does not help combat those beliefs, it just pushes them into an underground echo chamber where they can distil into a greater hate – unchecked.

It also removes the opportunity for civil society to publicly challenge and ridicule these views in the full light of day. No hatemonger should be denied the opportunity to have their reputation left in tatters.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • And so it came to pass that extreme homophobia and misogyny were finally and at long last, exposed as a self-defeating weakness of the Islamist agenda. But not before even more bewildering bungling by the various minority identity groups that would be the first slaughtered in the event of any Islamist success, as they parade with banners in defence of a fake phobia invented to deflect and silence any criticism of the righteous determination of the pious fascist types. Operation blind spot removal has been called.

  • In his US speeches this imam repeatedly says to kill or “get rid of them” regarding homosexuals. Its direct incitement to violence. That to my mind is the boundary – normally the authorities let the person in if they aren’t quite sure what they will say, monitor them and then first instance of incitement they are out the door before they can do more. In this case – just after the Orlando massacre – it was right to send him straight out.

    I also think really inflammatory social speech Directly justifying and calling for what amounts to violence – its fair enough to shut down – especially when it justifies any domestic (intra state/intra societal) violence. International violence is more complex because we all know the competing claims and interests including claims to self defence, the goodness/evilness of allies in the rich and poor world alike etc. – unless of course its a speaker purporting to justify blanket violent targetting of a people regardless of threat proportionality. To some extent the judgement of social good is subjective though it should be open.

    So Roosh’ proposed Canadian conferences on women should be raped in private and there should be laws allowing that were banned – and rightly so. Likewise here in Australia when a speaker at a conference on ethics proposed to speak on the topic of “Honour killings are justified” and proposed to the convenor that he would be arguing these are perfectly justified – I think the convenor was right to cancel the scheduled talk of that speaker (Uthman Badar of Hisbut Tahrir)

  • When judging the potential violence of speech the criterion is concordance with humanist values, not other values, other than actual survival. If Tommy Robinson came and gave speeches on his experiences and why he feels threatened well and good – thats debate and information. But if for example he tries to meet with indian and sikh groups and encourage them to hate muslims from what the intelligence says that’s the deportation line – given its someone from Overseas and its potentially sowing violence in the society. In Australia we already (very recently) have United Patriots Front and other anti Muslim orgs formed just since ISIS emerged.

    • Hi Rose, Hindus and sikhs know full well from their own history the evils of Islam as preached by the founder Prophet Muhammad. Meeting up with the likes of Tommy Robinson is not going to enlighten them any further on the topic of Islam. However the chances are that the concept of karma will be pushed on Tommy Robinson as a more indian way to tackle his problems with islam. As an example to show where the Hindu priorities are, last time they kicked up a fuss in the UK was regarding the putting to death of a cow by the British authorities because it might have contacted some disease. Ta

      • Sorry Denash, if I offended and implied any thing re Hindu intentions – perhaps I expressed it badly, maybe you have had some issues that UK authorities have not listened to/downplayed, so I was a bit insensitive.

        In Australia we recently have very nationalist anti Islam organisations set up with violence around it and would be worried about attempts to broaden that.
        – Tommy has been one of the founders setting up Pegida in the UK – in Europe Pegida is mentioned a lot in the media in association with around 1,000 attempts to set refugee shelters on fire –

        so if its to do with any non public talk you wonder what he’s saying to people in non public forum.
        Actually I was impressed with his presentation (on video) to Oxford uni, but I think he probably has two faces.

        • Hi Rose, relax no offence taken 🙂
          I feel Tommy Robinson and Pegida are just reactions to a society whose leaders refuse to confront extremist Islam, but instead they wind us up I saying Islam is a religion of peace.

          • Yes I agree, it would help if we could be more realistic and less precious about the nature of the phenomenon !

  • I find it extraordinary that bloggers and authors like Robert Spencer from the US were banned from entering the UK because they had the audacity to criticise Islam while the likes of Chaudary and Sekoleshfar and others are continuously spouting their Islamic hatred on mainstream media in the UK including the BBC.
    Sekoleshfar is apparently free to travel all over the Globe without restriction because authorities are afraid of offending the PC dictators who decide such things. Im surprised you haven’t picked up on this one Stephen?

    • Could it be because the roots of the islamic scriptures like “Whoever you find committing the sin of the people of Lut (Lot), kill them, both the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.” are taken from the very religions of our PC dictators. So any shots fired at islam will ultimately hit then too.

      • Yes but the liberal left are generally fellow atheists so they are rarely concerned about religious criticism reflecting badly on Christianity, in fact it is quite the reverse, they welcome attacks on white Christians, its only ethnic religions they want to defend.

What do you think? Leave some comments!