An act of compassion

From the Daily Beast:

Sheikh Farrokh Bahram Sekaleshfar, a Shia cleric of Iranian descent, sits opposite a reporter from the Australian TV network ABC. He is about to be kicked out of the country over his views, but he insists he played no role in the June 12 Orlando massacre.

Sekaleshfar’s name appeared in the news this week after a U.S.-born Afghan-American, Omar Mateen, shot dead 49 people and injured 53 others at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Sekaleshfar is on record saying that “death is the sentence” for homosexuals and that executing them is an act of “compassion,” since earthly punishment will gain them leniency in the afterlife. He has spoken on the subject at least twice in the U.S., once in 2013 at the University of Michigan, and again in April at the Husseini Islamic Center north of Orlando.

Some say he has the free speech right to say that, and the proper response is to dispute him, not revoke his visa.

Maybe, but then again – religion is a somewhat special case, in the sense that some believers take clerics very seriously, and think of such pronouncements as binding. That’s foolish and credulous of them, but then people are foolish and credulous.

Then again again, it’s not possible to expel all the clerics who say such things, so what’s the point?

In his interview with ABC, Sekaleshfar said he had made his comments in an academic setting, and that he regretted that they had been made public. He said he advocated the death penalty only for homosexuals who have anal sex in public in a country that abides by Islamic law.

“When does this question of death theoretically arise?” he asked the reporter. “It arises in a particular scenario that is such a small probability that I’ve never even heard of such a scenario arising in such a country, with such a mandate, where the rule of law is Islam.”

Then why talk about it?

But he’ll just say it somewhere else.


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