Tuesday, 21 June 2016

SPUTNIK: Loud & Clear - Could Daesh Or Saudi Arabia Be Behind the Major Terrorist Attack in Iran?

My appearance on SPUTNIK's Loud & Clear (21 June 2016) talking about the foiled terrorist attack in Iran on the week ending on the 17th-19th of June 2016, and other regional issues. The full 50min program inclusive of my segment can be found, here.

See also the article, Saudi Arabia still a Client of the [Angry] American Empire. Note the editors of Sputnik misinterpreted my saying Anglo-American instead for "Angry American." 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Racist US and Australian media defames and demonizes an innocent man: Sheikh Dr Farrokh Sekaleshfar

The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses…If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing ~ Malcolm X


In light of the recent massacre in Orlando, FL, which as of this writing has proven not to have connections to Islam or terrorism, British-Iranian sheikh and imam Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar has been made the subject of a vicious Islamophobic witch hunt and global defamation campaign merely 1) because he happened to be in Orlando, Florida some weeks before the incident and also 2) because in 2013 he gave a lecture at the University of Michigan where he articulated the classical textbook view of Twelver Shi'i Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) on the subject of homosexuality and its penalties under Islamic law. The 2013 lecture neither incites anyone to any act of violence nor claims anything remotely controversial that wasn't already known before. Moreover, Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar goes through enormous pains throughout the lecture to humanize homosexuals and distinguish the 'act' from the 'person'.   


Yet on the basis of a total shoddy, completely nonfactual and slanted piece of journalism posted in March 2016  by a local Orlando, Florida news outlet (see here), the Australian press as well as the Turnbull government seized on the story to defame and demonize Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar for absolutely no reason. The basis for the demonization is the lecture video entitled 'Islam and Homosexuality' which is captured below. Again, as any sane perusal of its contents will reveal, there is nothing in this lecture that can be remotely construed as inciting anyone to any violent act or hate-mongering.


Below the videos I offer my public comments on Facebook and Youtube regarding the case that say a little more about it. But I will say this here, given how the media's rush to judgement in Florida spectacularly backfired -- once again proving the biased, racist and Islamophobic motivations of everything the corporate media does around these false-flag events -- Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar and his lecture -- the views in it being standard, normative and quite uncontroversial ones articulated by a myriad of texts of Islamic law and theology, not mention preachers past and present, Shi'i and Sunni -- this case was fabricated out of thin air by the Western corporate presstitute media (and primarily the governments of the United States and Australia) to deflect attention from the fact.


I will be writing more about this case in due course. Until then, I give the Australian ABC's lopsided and transparently biased last interview with Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar first; then the lecture at the center of the controversy; following this are all my public comments so far on the case.



Comment on my Facebook wall 14 June 2016

Every day in the white Anglo-Saxon apartheid settler colony of Australia, whether on social media or elsewhere, the right-wing punditocracy and their commentariat call for the expulsion, ethnic cleansing, murder and genocide of Australian Muslims, whether local or immigrant. On every occasion Muslims have been essentialized, scape-goated, ridiculed, demeaned and demonized in the most despicable ways. Not one time has the Australian ABC or any other Australian media outlet -- let alone a single Australian government on either the faux-right or the faux-left side of the parliamentary spectrum -- ever called this fascist punditocracy and its lumpen commentariat on the floor, because it stands to reason that white Australia (establishment or otherwise) actually agrees with such opinions. Now, rightwing middle Australia couldn't really give a damn about gays. But now the gay issue has become a convenient ploy, weapon and smokescreen for white Australia to push its white supremacist racism and Islamophobia by other means.

This case here is a blatant one of hamstringing an innocent public individual, a Shi'i cleric, because Islamophobia is now enshrined policy in white racist Australia. Sheik Farrokh Sekaleshfar attended an academic conference at the University of Michigan some time ago where he gave a talk about *liwaat* in Islamic jurisprudence and the punishment for the act of *liwaat* in classical Islamic fiqh. Whether we like it or not, the act of liwaat in all classical Islamic jurisprudence -- whether Sunni or Shi'i -- is straightforward, and all the classical texts have prescribed the death penalty for _the act_. This is universal, standard and codified between Sunni and Shi'i. Nevertheless the discussion at the academic conference attended by Sheik Farrokh Sekaleshfar was a purely theoretical one. He was not inciting hatred or calling for anyone to be killed. The whole discussion was theoretically framed in an academic context from start to finish. What the corporate media in Australia is doing, rather, is pushing the white Anglo-Saxon racist establishment's opportunistic framing and spin on the issue in light of recent events, especially seeing that Australia is in the middle of a federal election campaign and Islamophobia gets votes with a certain "bogan" as well as LGBT constituency both major parties are attempting to woo to the ballot box on July 4th to vote for them. 

The tragedy in Orlando aside, the penalty for a homosexual act in orthodox Judaism is likewise death. But the Australian media nor government are holding a single Orthodox Rabbi or congregation to the same standards that Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar is being held here. Homosexuality is now being used by the fascist forces of Islamophobia and white supremacy as a weapon. This is how low Western power brokers have sunk, not to mention unequivocal evidence of what kind of below the belt tactics they are willing to use against Muslims everywhere of any persuasion. The LGBT community needs to be a lot more vigilant to this sort of divide and conquer tactic the establishment is using. But, alas, other than a handful, they are not. They are falling for this BS hook, line and stinker. 

Comment on Youtube video 15 June 2016

All the self-righteous, white rightard racist fools here and elsewhere denouncing this poor man -- without even having listened to what he actually says in the lecture -- are themselves some of the most hatefully homophobic people in existence. White conservative middle Australians -- the lynch-mob Idiocracy of bogans getting maximum mileage out of this case -- are usually the same posse of people hurling all kinds of homophobic slurs and imprecations in public and private 24/7. These are the same people who every other day of the week are the 'gay bashers' and who do not pull a punch to discriminate against the "poofter" wherever and whenever the occasion arises. Now, just because it involves a Muslim Shi'i cleric, these same Nutzis have suddenly found their love for the LGBT community. Go to any suburban pub anywhere in Australia and see for yourself how inclusive these obnoxious fascist white supremacist Anglo-Saxon settler colonist bogans in Australia really are and how much they actually love LGBT people!

Bottom line, this case is all about Australia's psychopathic racist white supremacy and double-standards. This man is innocent of what he is being accused. He has not advocated anything. He has presented the case and delineated the facts as far as classical Islamic jurisprudential opinions about homosexual acts are concerned. That is not advocacy. It is instead an exposition of a discursive, historical fact regarding a living religious tradition. Whether you bogan morons like it or not, is irrelevant to the matter because this is the historical fact of the situation. Of course, such fine details and subtle distinctions usually go over collective mainstream heads in that penal colony where the collective IQs of these descendants of convicts is lower than ants.

The Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, and both parties scurrying for votes as the election nears, would know that this man was not advocating anything but instead expositing a discursive situation and so explaining a textual view had they actually bothered to watch the lecture from start to finish. Instead, and in light of the tragedy in Orlando, they rushed to judgement and then opportunistically instrumentalized the LGBT cause as a weapon of their culture-war racism against Muslims and Islam in order to hamstring a completely innocent man over nothing. People should be reminded that this lynch-mob mentality of the Australian Idiocracy is the same one that was once convinced of the unquestionable guilt of Lindy Chamberlain in the death of her baby daughter Azaria at Uluru in 1980 (a tragedy which years later was proven to have been 180% different to what two kangaroo courts in the NT and warped public opinion at the time thought it was). But not much changes in that colony of arrogant, self-righteous racist fools downunder.

On top of that, the hypocrisy gets even richer when one considers that Australia itself had sodomy laws on the books until 1989: sodomy laws that had witnessed people hanged in Australia up until the 1950s before capital punishment itself was finally abolished in Australia as of 1973 . That said, I defy the redneck corporate Australian media lynch-mob and both the ALP and LNP to contradict a single thing I have stated above.

To Dr Sheikh Farrokh Sekalshfar, I say, you have gained much here so consider it a blessing in disguise for you to have been graced with the privilege to leave that racist penal colony of troglodyte hicks. Chin up, because you are walking in the path of Imam Husayn (as)!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Baha’i UHJ promotes Islamophobia and Iranophobia

In light of the fiasco surrounding Faezah Hashemi in Iran, which I recently wrote about for Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/25/behind-the-politics-of-a-current-brouhaha-in-iran-an-ex-president-ayatollahs-daughter-and-the-bahais/, the Haifan Baha’i Universal House of Justice has lately stepped up its media campaign against Iran in the Western corporate media. Recently, and only one day before my Counterpunch article was published, the Haifa based supreme Baha’i body known as the Universal House of Justice issued the following letter to several of its Western National Spiritual Assemblies, https://ia601502.us.archive.org/8/items/UHJ_LETTERS/24May2016LobbyingAgainstIran.pdf

In these past two weeks since that letter, press releases demonizing Iran and distorting the issues have been published by Radio Free Europe, http://www.rferl.org/content/iran-un-authorities-incite-hatred-persecute-bahais/27786805.html and elsewhere which typically do not reference the Haifan Baha’i organization’s own documented and systematic promotion of Islamophobia and Iranophobia. Here I offer an example of Baha’i institutional Iranophobia/Islamophobia which targeted the late Hamid Taheri (an elderly expat Iranian living in Perth, Australia and who died in 2007) before his expulsion from the Baha’i cult in 2004. As is typical of most Iranians living abroad, Hamid Taheri had been participating in Persian cultural programs in his local community of Perth. One of these was a weekly local access cable television program discussing Iranian literature, poetry and culture. Hamid Taheri was first threatened by Baha’i authorites for his participation and told he was to sever his ties with “Iranian Muslims” in Perth. When he refused to comply, he was expelled from the cult with his family encouraged by Baha’i authorities to shun him (which technically is against the law in Australia).

Below I offer a scan of the original letter of the Australian National Spiritual Assembly sent to Hamid Taheri on 3 April 2002 and then below it the typescript. Note: this is not an isolated incident. Haifan Baha’i authorities -- and going all the way back to their founders -- regularly demonize Muslims and Iranians. As such, and contrary to the narrative promoted by several Anglophone-based liberal academics, such as Mohammad Tavakoli-Targhi and others, Baha’is themselves are quite conversant in the art of Othering. In a lopsided and totally tendentious academic conference held in Canada in 2011, which was funded by the Baha’i establishment, when an Iranian scholar at SOAS attending it attempted to remind the Baha’is of their own checkered history in that regard, especially in the murder and Othering of the Azali Babis during Baha’u’llah’s own lifetime, he was thrown out of the conference. 

Finally, please note that the individual responsible for penning this letter, Stephen Hall, is currently a member of the Baha’i Universal House of Justice in Haifa, occupied Palestine https://bahaikipedia.org/Stephen_Hall



In reply please quote ref no: OPM/CD

3 April 2002 

Mr Hamid Taheri 
19 Dunbar Rd CLAREMONT WA 6010 
[(08) 938-45246]

Dear Baha'i Friend, 

The National Spiritual Assembly understands that you are involved in a weekly Iranian television programme in Perth, sponsored by an Iranian Muslim.

As you would undoubtedly be aware the House of Justice calls for Baha'is to exercise great caution in their relations with the Iranian community. The National Assembly has determined that your involvement in this programme is not wise. In the best interests of the Faith you should immediately cease your participation in this television programme.

Due to the need to protect the Faith in Australia the National Assembly feels it necessary to warn you that failure to comply with this instruction will result in the removal of your administrative rights. The National Assembly looks forward to receiving confirmation that you have discontinued this activity.

We take this opportunity to recommend that you re-familiarize yourself with the guidance of the Universal House of Justice in its letter dated June 18, 1999. A copy of this letter is enclosed.

With loving Baha'i greetings,


Stephen Hall 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Rest in Power and the Light of lights!

 1942 - 2016

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I'm not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again: The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.... If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people, they wouldn't have to draft me, I'd join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I'll go to jail, so what? We've been in jail for 400 years” -- Muhammad Ali, 1967.

إنّا لله وإنّا إليهِ رَاجعُون
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ