Less than three months ago, Islamic scholar Farrokh Sekaleshfar gave a talk at the Husseini Islamic Center just outside Orlando where he said that the sentence for people who are found guilty of homosexuality should be death. Despite this, he is condemning Orlando shooter Omar Mateen for massacring 50 gay people in a club this weekend.
In an interview with Fusion, Sekaleshfar explained that even though he believes in the death penalty for homosexuals, he doesn’t think that gives anyone the right to go out and massacre them at a nightclub. He also noted that four people need to witness a gay person having sex in order for them to be convicted of sodomy and sentenced to death.
“I never gave the call to a death sentence,” he said, while claiming that his remarks had been taken out of context. “I was explaining what Islamic law – in a country whose people democratically desired Islamic law to be exercised – states in relation to NOT homosexuals, but rather in relation to when the act of anal copulation is executed in such an aforementioned public.”
For the record, this is what Sekaleshfar had to say in late March about the proper Islamic penalties for homosexuality:
Death is the sentence. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about this. Death is the sentence… We have to have that compassion for people. With homosexuals, it’s the same. Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.
It’s entirely possible that someone could hear this declaration and use it as justification to take it upon themselves to kill gay people — after all, if an Islamic scholar says “let’s get rid of” gay people now, most people listening won’t be attuned to the nuances of when it is or isn’t purportedly “appropriate” to kill homosexuals just for being themselves. The easier path is to just say, “Killing homosexuals is wrong.”