An Islamic preacher, Shaykh Hamza Sodagar, seen in a video outlining the various ways Islamic law calls for the killing of gay people, is lecturing over a number of days, continuing through October 12th at the Islamic Republic of Iran School in London.
Sodagar was born in Washington, D.C. and has spent the past 14 years studying Islamic law and principles, according to Express.
His talks started October 4 and run through October 12, and are supported by the Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission. The video clip, which has caused controversy and concern, comes from a 2010 speech on “Punishment According to Islam,” delivered at Saba Islamic Center of San Jose.
If there’s homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One, the easiest one maybe: chop their head off. That’s the easiest. Second, burn them to death. Third, throw them off a cliff. Fourth, tear down a wall on them so they die under that. Fifth, a combination of the above.
We have a hadith on that. Now whether somebody’s going to accept that, that’s up to the jurists to read and understand. There’s definitely, some of those apply. Now, maybe the combination. But that’s something that’s there.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission claimed the video was taken out of context and is being misrepresented by “right-wing media.”
In remarks made in 2010, as part of a series of lectures delivered on mercy, love and hatred in Islam through a commentary of a supplication from the Islamic tradition, Shaykh Hamza explained the position of Islam on homosexuality, and that it is not compatible with Islam. 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.
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’. This is untrue and a mischievous and malicious accusation to make.
To suggest that Shaykh Hamza is calling for the beheading and burning of homosexuals is laughable and absurd.
According to our understanding, it is precisely this irresponsible behavior that incites hatred and fuels racism and discrimination; and to this we shall not remain silent. We believe such entities intentionally seek to fuel divisions, stifle alternate voices and defame personalities that seek to make a positive contribution to society.
The full context of his comments can be seen below. His comments about homosexuality start around the 13 minute mark. After his statements found in the above clip, Sodagar reads a hadith questioning if love and hatred come from faith or are irrelevant to the issue.
“Is faith anything other than hate and love? Since all of faith, all of religion is based on love and hatred,” Sodagar says. “The concept of love and hatred are 100 percent related to the religion…If you don’t love the right thing you’re going to love the wrong thing. If you don’t hate the right thing you’re going to hate the wrong thing.”
His comments previous to those on homosexuality express his disdain for those who preach peace and love all the time, and for those who say they should not speak of hatred and punishment in a serious way.
Taken in context, the video calls into question the Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission’s statement. While Sodagar does say that Islamic penal code cannot be freely carried out, it does not appear as if he believes it would always be wrong for such punishments to be allowed. In fact, the opposite seems true.
He gives the following example, among others, as to why mercy is not always required:
One of the Jewish tribes that betrayed the holy prophet on multiple occasions – and they almost had the Muslims all killed – the way they were dealt with, according to this historical account, is all their men were killed. And according to the account, the holy prophet watched all this happen…This is the prophet of mercy.
The one that we just described last night, how merciful he was to the orphans, to the women, you don’t want to see his face in battle. You don’t want to come across this man in battle.
When it comes to Allah, when the time is right, when it is necessary: very violent.
He then predicts what is coming, and claims he is not spreading hatred or violence, saying:
I’m saying all of this, some of you are probably thinking, this is probably going to go online. People are probably thinking how they will take it out of context, ‘Oh, this Sheikh, you know, he’s spreading hatred and violence and all of that. No, we’re not trying to do that.
Look at the people that are telling you not to be violent. Who is spreading this information about, don’t be violent? Who is echoing it? It’s the same people that are the most ruthless, violent on earth. They don’t have mercy on children that haven’t committed a sin. They’re telling you violence is bad.