Extremist Pro-Regime Cleric to speak at Islamic Centre of England
On October 24, the Islamic Centre of England and the Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission is providing a platform for Shaykh Hamza Sodagar, a American Shi’ite cleric.
Sodagar is a noted Khomeinist who studies in the Iranian city of Qom, the ideological base for Iranian theocracy. Sodagar promotes Iranian regime conspiracy theories that the “war in Syria is because of Israel. … People in Egypt…and people in Lebanon are being killed because of the Zionist entity. … Some are claiming that 9/11 was an Israeli project.” He repeatedly echoes Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s description of Israel as a “cancerous tumour”.
Sodagar claims that American and Europeans, whom he describes as “kuffar”, are puppets of Jewish lobby groups, that a “Zionist web of media is trying to control the minds of the people” and that “Zionist companies” hold the economies of the world’s countries to ransom. He has also said that accusations of anti-Semitism are employed by the Israeli government as a fig leaf to hide its actions. In addition, Sodagar is vocally anti-gay, and has stated that Western tolerance for homosexuality is the inevitable product of “legal and moral value systems that are based purely on democracy.”
Despite these views, Sodagar has frequently spoken in the UK before, including at an interfaith event at St Andrews University designed to “improve relations on campus” between Muslim and Jewish students.
The Islamic Centre of England, where Sodagar will be speaking, is one of the key institutions for the Iranian regime in the UK. Abdolhossein Moezi, the Director of the Centre, is described in the Centre’s own incorporation documents as Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s “personal representative” to the UK.
The Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission, while is organising the event, is another pro-regime group based in London, and is the UK branch of the Ahlul Bayt World Assembly, an Iranian Shi’ite clerical organization. The Ahlul Bayt World Assembly is managed by Muhammad Hassan Akhtari, a leading Iranian cleric and one of the founders of the Lebanese terrorist group, Hezbollah.