In the days that followed the Orlando nightclub shooting on June 12, WFTV 9 reported that homophobic Muslim cleric Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar had visited a mosque in Orlando just two months prior to the nightclub attack. In a sermon that he reportedly preached three years ago, Sekaleshfar stated that the penalty for homosexuality is death. He added that if homosexuals are killed they are forgiven, and “won’t be accountable in the hereafter.”
According to one Aljazeera article, Sekaleshfar preached this sermon at the University of Michigan in 2013. He was invited to speak at the Hosseini Islamic Center in April 2016. The Hosseini Center is Shiite affiliated. The morning after the shooting occurred, the Hosseini Center posted a message in solidarity with the victims and their families. The message included a video clip in which a different Imam expressed that the hearts of Hosseini members were with the hearts of the victims’ families.
He then preached a sermon about universal values within Islam about love for all of God’s creation. There have not yet been any comments posted by the Hosseini Center on Sekaleshfar’s sermon. According to Aljazeera, Sekaleshfar had been in Australia at the time of the attack. He fled Australia after the attack occurred and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed to investigate why Sekaleshfar had not been placed on a watch list.
Sekaleshfar is a British citizen. According to an article in the New York Post, he currently lives in Iran and “travels the world to spread his hateful message.” There appears to be no word yet on whether or not British officials will take legal actions against Sekaleshfar.