|Orlando Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen.|
An Islamic preacher who has called for gay people to be executed gave sermons in Orlando just weeks before the Pulse nightclub massacre. Farrokh Sekaleshfar - a British-born doctor and Muslim scholar - has gained a following by urging Muslims to 'get rid of' homosexuals.
And in April, he took his speech titled 'How to deal with the phenomenon of homosexuality' to the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, just outside Orlando, Florida. Two months later, 29-year-old Omar Mateen carried out the worst massacre in US history by opening fire on a gay club in the same city. Mateen's father has said he believes the attack was motivated by his son's homophobia.
Farrokh Sekaleshfar - a British-born doctor - has gained a following urging Muslims to 'get rid of' homosexuals. In April, he took his speech 'How to deal with the phenomenon of homosexuality' to Orlando
Islamic preacher calls for gays to be put to death in Australia
Seddique Mateenthe father of Orlando Muslim shooter told NBC his son was enraged after seeing two men kissing in front of his wife and son during a visit to Miami a couple of months ago. The father then condemned the shooting - but shocked many as he said: 'God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality. This [killing] is not for the servants.'
It is not clear whether Port St Lucie-based Omar Mateen attended Sekaleshfar's event in Orlando in April. Previous versions of Sekaleshfar's speech have been posted online, showing him say that gay people should die. 'Death is the sentence. There's nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence,' Sekaleshfar says in one sermon, dated in 2013.
'We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it's the same. Out of compassion, let's get rid of them now.' Sekaleshfar has not been linked to the Pulse nightclub massacre.
He also says 'forgiveness is possible' for homosexuality and that 'executions' should only be carried out in countries where Islamic law exists. On Monday morning, Sekaleshfar posted a statement on his Facebook page offering his 'sincere condolences to the friends and families of those massacred'.
'The killing of innocent life is never justified by religion,' he said. 'The perpetrator of this shooting has directly violated this holy commandment and displayed a complete disregard for the sanctity of human life and divine values.'
The Sheikh went on to address claims he has been the subject of abuse since the shooting, and that he has received death threats by people attempting to link his sermon with the shooter's motives. Previous versions of Sekaleshfar's speech posted online show him saying that gay people should die.
'Such a connection is impossible, because had the shooter listened to my lecture, he would have clearly heard me condemn hate and violence multiple times and endorse compassion towards all humankind,' the statement read.
'I invite my friends to help in supporting the humanitarian needs of the families of the victims of the shooting during such a period and share with their grief. This is an Islamic value in all cases where people are being oppressed - whoever they are.'
Sekaleshfar is currently in Australia on a speaking tour. He arrived on June 7 to speak at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre at Earlwood, in Sydney's south-west, according to the centre's website.
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Muslim Man Slaughtered 53 Inside Orlando Gay Nightclub.
(Update on 15 June 2016)
A MUSLIM cleric who has previously suggested the death sentence for gay people has left Australia after a public outcry at his entry into the country for a speaking tour. British-born Farrokh Sekaleshfar boarded a flight at Sydney Airport on Tuesday night after it emerged his visa was under review, according to the ABC.