Iranian Stooges Take to Florida Podium

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Syed Muhammad Rivzi (Screenshot)
Syed Muhammad Rizvi (Screenshot)

The Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, Florida, held an event October 27 with Syed Muhammad Rizvi, a Shi’a religious leader whose named is marred in controversy. And it’s not the first time the center hosted Iranian stooges.

In May of 2012, Rizvi’s Islamic school in Toronto, Canada, lost its operating permit for teaching students that Jews were “treacherous,” according to a report from the National Post. In addition, an investigation from the hate crimes unit in York concluded the curriculum was published by a foundation in Iran and a front-group for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime in New York.

Rizvi studied under one of Iran’s leading ayatollahs in Qom, Hossein Vahid Khorasani. He is also an author, writing on various subjects, including apostasy from Islam and homosexuality.

In an excerpt from his writings on apostasy published on al-islam.org, Rizvi makes it clear that men born Muslim who leave the faith are committing treason against God and the only just punishment for them is death.

“But one who is born as a Muslim and then apostates (mrtad fitri) he is to be killed even if he repents. It is important to understand that in the case of a murtad fitri repents, Allah may accept his repentance and he may be forgiven in the hereafter, but he still has to go through the punishment prescribed for his treason in this world,” said Rizvi.

When it comes to homosexuality, his views are just as archaic. In his book Marriage and Morals in Islam, it reads, “In the Islamic legal system, homosexuality is a punishable crime against the laws of God. In the case of homosexuality between two males, the active partner is to be lashed a hundred times if he is unmarried and killed if he is married; whereas the passive partner is to be killed regardless of his marital status.”

Rizvi isn’t the first controversial cleric the Husseini Islamic Center has brought in. Last year, it hosted Maulana Mirza Mohammad Baig. Baig is an ardent follower of Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini. Clarion Project previously reported he is a scholar of the Al-Walaa Foundation and made some eyebrow-raising remarks at an event in Dallas in 2008.

“If those people who do jihad in Allah’s way, maybe they might be called terrorists by this government. But you see those who do jihad are those who are esteemed by us. And if you do not hold them up like that, then we having to do with the Quran,” said Baig.

The Husseini Islamic Center also hosts interfaith events. With its support of such controversial figures, it begs the question: Are they really vetting those they look to as religious leaders, or are they supportive of the propaganda mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran?



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Ryan Mauro and Justen Charters

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's Shillman Fellow, national security analyst and the director of Clarion Intelligence Network. Mauro is also an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Justen Charters is a research analyst with the Clarion Intelligence Network.