Hamza Sodagar And Everything You Need To Know About Islamists

From her blog Maryam Namazie writes that:

The surfacing of a video by Hamza Sodagar (a US hate preacher trained by the Islamic regime of Iran) on killing gay men will tell you everything you need to know about Islamists.

You must have seen the video by now:

If there’s homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One, the easiest one maybe, is cut their head off, that’s the easiest. The second is, burn them to death. Third, throw them off a cliff. Fourth, tear down the wall on them so they die. Fifth, a combination of the above.

We have a hadith on that. Now, whether someone’s going to accept that, that’s up to the jurists to read that and understand. There’s definitely some of those apply… maybe the combination [fifth option]. These are things which are there.

Double-speak to justify incitement to violence

Soon after the surfacing of the video, the usual apologia and double-speak begin by AhlulBayt where he was delivering “lectures” every night from 3-12 October.

AhlulBayt Islamic Mission’s statement defending Sodagar is an excellent case in point:

All allegations are “baseless” despite any evidence

The AhlulBayt statement says the “allegations” are “baseless”, even though the video clip is of Sodagar himself; it’s not, after all, a retelling of his speech by another narrator who might have misrepresented him.

Any exposure is Islamophobia

The statement says the video clip is “a malicious campaign to misconstrue the positions of Islam and dehumanise Muslims” and chastises the media for “publish[ing] materials that clearly follow a right-wing extremist agenda of spreading hatred and Islamophobia”. Again, charges of Islamophobia to shut down investigation and remove scrutiny.

Incitement to violence is always taken “out of context”

The “out of context” defence is always raised: “De-contextualised excerpts of this series, were used by right-wing media to suggest that Shaykh Hamza was calling for ‘the beheading and burning of homosexuals’”. It’s hard to see how the retelling of ways to kill gay men with a smile on one’s face can be misconstrued; and notice how AhlulBayt doesn’t link to the full speech at least to feign an attempt at proving their defence.

The culprit is always “reputable” and a “role model” thereby making all “allegations baseless”

The statement says Hamza Sodagar is “a reputable religious scholar who has studied the sciences of the religion and is considered an expert in theology, history and jurisprudence” as if that means he cannot incite violence. They also say he “has a lengthy record in serving the Muslim community around the world”, which usually means a lengthy record serving the Islamist movement – in this case the Islamic regime of Iran.

It is always a theological debate therefore never it seems incitement to violence

The statement then goes on to assert that anything Sodagar said was a mere theological discussion. Sodagar’s speech on killing gay men was merely part of a “series of lectures delivered on mercy, love and hatred in Islam through a commentary of a supplication from the Islamic tradition”. This is highly questionable given Sodagar’s role in promoting Iran’s supreme spiritual leader Khamenei and the concept of velayat e faqih and an Islamic state. He is also a firm supporter and promoter of the Islamic regime in Iran, which punishes homosexuality with the death penalty.

In many of his lectures, Sodagar stresses the “practical laws of Islam”, including in this one video where he says:

From 1:17: “Inshallah in these sessions, we will try to go over the practical laws of Islam based on of course the fatawa of one of our prominent maraje [Sources of Emulation] Ayatollah Khamenei, which the fatawa of this marja are less available, which is why we have chosen this particular marje [Source of Emulation] to talk about his fatawa.”

Finally, apparently, there is no need to worry, since they can only kill gay men under a legitimate Islamic state

All such apologia usually explains that they are not talking about killing gay men in Britain but only within “a legitimate government” and within the framework of Sharia law. The statement says: “This is a clear and undeniable position that is upheld by Islam as found in Islamic scripture and tradition. In this regard, it must be understood, as was mentioned in the very same lecture series, that Islamic penal code cannot be administered outside the framework of law-enforcement and legal process within a legitimate government”. How very comforting!

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Links to transnational Islamism

Whenever you see Instances of incitement to violence like this one, be assured that there is a transnational Islamist link. In the case of Hamza Sodagar, it is the Islamic regime of Iran.

Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission at the Islamic Republic Of Iran School in London, where he is speaking this week, is linked to the Iranian regime. The Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission is the UK branch of the Ahlul Bayt World Assembly, an Iranian organisation. The Ahlul Bayt World Assembly is managed by Muhammad Hassan Akhtari, a leading Iranian cleric and one of the founders of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Also Sodagar spends much of his “lectures” promoting Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic regime of Iran, and his successor Ayatollah Khamenei – both responsible for the slaughter of an entire generation in Iran.

In one speech, Sodagar stresses the political dimensions Khomeni:

4:25 “When the movement of Imam Khomeini began, out of all the qualities that our late imam Khomeini had, the one that is most outstanding, the one that we have felt the impact of than all the other dimensions or because of this is his political stances”.

He often speaks of Islamic practical laws based on Khamenei’s fatwas, making it very clear that he is not speaking theoretically:

42:31 “The second category is criminal law or penal code of Islam. We have a very detailed laws when it comes to the punishment. we have three chapters that are written down here in Figh [Islamic jurisprudence] – al Hudud and Tazirat – Hudud are the punishments, that for committing sins, OK, because of god’s law is violated depending on the law there’s punishments. Some of the punishments are called Hudud which is where the punishment is determined very specifically. For example, fornication, it’s a 100 lashes. OK the amount of the punishment is specified very specifically. Tazirat, it’s not like that… And by the way fornication has a very precise definition. If a male and female, for example, they mingle, but it’s not fornication, there’s Tazir. It’s not a 100 lashes, it’s less than that but how many depends on what the judge specifies for that. The second chapter we find here is El Ghesas, OK. If a person intentionally, knowingly and willingly, kills somebody else then we have the concept of Ghesas [retribution]. Also if we injure somebody else in some cases we have the concept of Ghesas and the person that was harmed has got the right to do the same to the person that caused that to them. The third chapter we have is al Diyat: blood money, OK. We mentioned last night that there is a lot of detail in that. Even if somebody scratches somebody else, OK, Islamically, the person who was scratched or even a small scar is left on them – the person who has got the scar has got the right to ask for blood money. OK that is a right that if they want to practice that right, they can do so. And we would be responsible if they caused that injury, we would be responsible to pay them that…”

It is the hudud ordinances in Iran which punish apostasy, enmity against God, heresy, blasphemy and homosexuality, amongst others, with the death penalty.

Being anti-ISIS does not a moderate make

The AhlulBayt Islamic Mission says it: “prides itself for being active in campaigning against extremism, sectarianism, intolerance and racism both locally and globally” but just because there are rivalries amongst Islamists, including between the Iranian regime and ISIS or the Saudi regime, it does not make them “anti-extremism”. Nonetheless, Sodagar has spoken at everything from inter-faith meetings and on issues such as “legal pluralism” and “combatting extremism within the Muslim Community(!).

Where there is an Islamist, you will always find others

Finally, where there is one Islamist, you will always find others. Sodagar, for example, is regularly interviewed by Press TV, the Iranian regime’s TV channel, including by Tariq Ramadan.

He has spoken a number of times alongside Sayyed Ali Abbas Razawi, one of the two Imams acting as an adviser to Theresa May’s inquiry into Sharia courts. [One Law for All has revealed how Razawi calls women in tight clothing “corrupt” and talks of strategies to “change democracy” rather than “criticising” it.]

Sodagar has been interviewed by Ayatollah Naser Mokaram Shirazi’s official website (see above). The ayatollah is responsible for the death fatwa against singer Shahin Najafi for apostasy, amongst others. As a member of Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom, Makarem-Shirazi proposes judges to Iran’s Islamic courts…

Now apply the above to any other situation and you’ll notice the exact same tactics. And why not, if it keeps working for them?

Peter Tatchell has called on the Home Office to revoke Sodagar’s visa for incitement to violence. I agree. But honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is instead asked to join a British government investigation into extremism or Sharia law – he is after all anti-ISIS…

By the way, as an aside, you can see this apologia and the Islamist transnational links in the discussion around Sharia courts.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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