Govt orders review of visa for death sentence advocate

Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton speaks to the media in Sydney, Friday, April 29, 2016. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton speaks to the media in Sydney, Friday, April 29, 2016. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) JOEL CARRETT

THE Federal Government has ordered a review of a visa issued to a British-born Islamic cleric who has been quoted advocating death sentences for homosexuals.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had ordered a review of the visa issued to Sheik Farrokh Sekaleshfar.

He is in Sydney as the guest of an Islamic centre.

In March, the sheik spoke at functions in Orlando, Florida, where 50 people died on Sunday in an attack at a gay nightclub. He has rejected claims his lectures are linked to the massacre.

US authorities say the shootings by 29-year-old Omar Mateen may have been inspired by groups such as Islamic State and a hatred of gay people.

During a lecture at the University of Michigan in 2013, the Sheik said of 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."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said if the reports of the sheik expressing such views were correct, he did not know "how on Earth" he got a visa, given character reviews formed part of visa assessment.

Mr Dutton said while all the facts needed to be taken into account, the government would not tolerate anyone "preaching hate in our country" or those who failed the character test.

It came as attention also turned to the push for Constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians, after Mr Shorten said he was open to considering a treaty with the first Australians.

While the push for Constitutional recognition in a referendum in 2017 continues, albeit slowly, many indigenous people have instead voiced support for an overarching treaty, rather than being recognised under the Westminster-derived Constitution.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Shorten was putting the recognition vote at risk by raising "other issues" in the election campaign.

Mr Shorten said he still supported Constitutional recognition, but would not "impose top-down paternalistic solutions".

Topics:  federal government

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