The Muslim ‘scholar’ who preached against gays in Orlando weeks before Sunday’s massacre was a British-born Muslim who now blames the media for “defamation”, claiming his alleged support for killing gays was an “academic exercise – not a personal opinion, verdict or in support of violence”.
Farrokh Sekaleshfar is a trained medical doctor and Shia Muslim ‘scholar’ from Manchester in the north of England. He now claims to live in Iran, but is currently in Australia after leaving the U.S. last month as he continues his tour of the West, propagating his views on homosexuality and Islam.
This Sunday, Orlando witnessed the largest targeted killing of homosexuals in the Western world since the Holocaust. In March, just weeks before the attack, the Husseini Islamic Center invited Mr. Sekaleshfar to give a talk just outside Orlando, entitled: ‘How to Deal with the Phenomenon of Homosexuality’.
Eyewitness News on WFTV first picked up his history of appearing to advocate the killing of gay men on the 29th of March, which was reported by Breitbart on the 6th of April.
WFTV broadcast clips of a lecture he had given at the University of Michigan in 2013, where he is heard saying: “Death is the sentence. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence.”
Adding: “We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now”.
Since Sunday’s massacre, perpetrated by a Muslim fanatic pledging allegiance to Islamic State terrorists, the Imam has slammed WFTV for “releas[ing] a story airing extracts of an academic presentation” he had given.
“They have grossly misrepresented the facts and published a story that is far from the truth. Simply stated, it is libel and defamation,” he wrote on Facebook.
He argued that the media had taken his comments “out of context” and were trying to suppress his freedom of speech.
“The defamatory publication by WFTV attempts to silence academic discourse by manipulating my discussion to imply that I condone violence.
“Taking quotes out of context and misrepresenting me the way it was done is not only unethical and dangerous in this context; it also calls into question the credibility of the news organization,” he wrote.
The full lecture has since surfaced online. Near the beginning, Mr. Sekaleshfar says gay people can find “redemption” if they keep their sexuality secret, and says: “In Islam… we believe in turning the other side of the cheek… there is no limit to forgiveness and the noble ethical traits in one-to-one relationships.”
However, he adopts a more sinister tone approaching the one hour mark, claiming that gay men can face “the death sentence” if their sexuality somehow “passes a certain threshold” and “permeates society”.
“Then Islam has a stance to take,” he says. “If they do anal intercourse in society, publicly, and four people at least see it, then Islam takes a stance.”
“Now, when is the death sentence given?” he asks. “It’s when they kill the souls of at least four people by doing the act in public. Islam has to protect the souls. Killing the souls of people is much worse than killing the physical sides of people,” he says.
“We have so many traditions that we have certainty that the death sentence is given”, he adds, arguing that it is “killing out of love” because of his belief in the afterlife.
He goes on to state that there are “five or six” ways of “executing the death sentence”. Adding: “In an Islamic society, where people want the law of Islam to rule, we have to execute it.”
The Husseini Islamic Center, who invited the preacher to Orlando, have retrospectively distanced themselves from Mr. Sekaleshfar and his views.
A representative of the Orlando mosque told Fusion in a statement: “The management at the Husseini Islamic Center were unaware of these remarks when he was invited.”
Adding: “Please understand that the singular views of guest speakers do not represent those of the Husseini Islamic Center. We want to reiterate that nothing, absolutely nothing, can justify yesterday’s atrocious actions.”