Orlando shooting: Australia reviews visa of Islamic preacher over anti-gay comments

Australia: Australia on Tuesday said it was reviewing a visa granted to a British Islamic preacher in the wake of the Orlando nightclub killings after it emerged he has called for gays to be put to death.

Cleric Farrokh Sekaleshfar is in Australia as the guest speaker of a Sydney Islamic centre for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He has previously made comments suggesting that death was a "compassionate" sentence for homosexuals, The Australian newspaper reported.

Reaction to the Orlando nightclub shooting. AFP

Reaction to the Orlando nightclub shooting. AFP

"I can say to you we have zero tolerance for people to come to Australia who preach hatred. Zero tolerance," said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when asked about Sekaleshfar.

"His visa is a legal matter and has to be dealt with in the appropriate way, but his visa is being reviewed at the request, the direction, I should say, of the (immigration) minister, even as we speak," he told reporters.

Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten said the cleric should never have been allowed into Australia, if he made such comments.

"I don't know how on earth that fellow got a visa," he said.

"I think the government needs to get on to it quick smart and this person, in my opinion, is not welcome in Australia holding those abhorrent views," he added, speaking to reporters in Perth.

The Australian revealed Sekaleshfar's presence in Sydney as the world reeled in shock after 49 people were killed and 53 wounded by Omar Mateen when he opened fire in a popular gay Florida club on Sunday.

US President Barack Obama branded it an act of terror and hate.

Sekaleshfar told the newspaper his comments on homosexuals during a 2013 lecture at the University of Michigan had been taken out of the "academic and theoretical" context they were given in.

"I said in Islam this is the ruling ... we believe homosexuality, like adultery and a long list of other things, they are sins it is just one of them," he said.

"Never do I incite violence against them. I say don’t hate the actual sinner, hate the act. Compassion is the first cause of action."

The newspaper reported that during his lecture at Michigan Sekaleshfar said "death is the sentence" when asked about homosexuality, adding: "Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now".


Updated Date: Jun 14, 2016 14:16 PM

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