Australia

Australia may expel gay-hate preacher linked to Orlando

Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar speaks at the University of Michigan in 2013 Image copyright YouTube
Image caption Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar may be expelled from Australia over comments he has made about putting homosexuals to death

Australia may expel a visiting Islamic preacher who has said homosexuals should be put to death.

British-born Shia cleric Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar had lectured near Orlando, Florida in April and was being widely quoted in the wake of Sunday's killing.

He is currently visiting Australia as a guest of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in western Sydney.

But Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ordered a review of Sheikh Sekaleshfar's visa.

"We have zero tolerance for people who come to Australia to preach hatred," Mr Turnbull said.

"This is a legal matter and has to be dealt with in the appropriate way."

'Nothing to be embarrassed about'

Sheikh Sekaleshfar was born in Manchester, UK and currently lives in Iran.

In April he delivered a sermon entitled How to Deal with the Phenomenon of Homosexuality at the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, Florida.

There is no evidence that Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, attended the lecture.

During lectures, clips of which were posted online, the cleric has said the death penalty is justified for homosexuals in societies operating under Islamic laws.

"Death is the sentence. There's nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence," he said during a 2013 lecture at the University of Michigan.

He told Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper that his comments had been taken out of context and said he did not believe his words could have inspired Mateen's nightclub attack.

Sheikh Sekaleshfar said Mateen was a follower of the so-called Islamic State, which follows the Wahabi doctrine of Sunni Islam and had been "killing homosexuals in the most wrongful way for years now", whereas he was a Shia scholar.

"This barbaric act was beyond all definitions of humanity," he told the paper.

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