Shankar Baba Massimo Palazzi, Previously Known as “Sheikh” Abdul Hadi Palazzi
Just so you guys know, there are some serious flakes out there—not everyone who claims to have Muslim credentials as a “scholar,” or who claims to be an authority/representative of a group of Muslims, is legit. I’ve been meaning to point this guy out to you for a while now: An Italian previously known as “Sheikh” Abdul Hadi Palazzi.
According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine):
Abdul Hadi Palazzi (Arabic: شيخ عبد الهادي بالاتسي), legally named Massimo Palazzi, is the secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly, and the Khalifah for Europe of the Qadiri Sufi Order. Controversially in Muslim circles, as of April 2010, he not only supported Israel’s right to exist but also “[encouraged] Hebron settlers, many of whom openly advocate the expulsion of all Arabs from Palestine”. […]
Views on Israel
When asked what the Qur’an says about the State of Israel, Palazzi replied:
“The Qur’an cannot deal with the State of Israel as we know it today, since that State came into existing in 1948 only, i.e., many centuries after the Qur’an itself was revealed. However, the Qur’an specifies that the Land of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, that God Himself gave that Land to them as heritage and ordered them to live therein. It also announces that—before the end of the time—the Jewish people will come from many different countries to retake possession of that heritage of theirs. Whoever denies this actually denies the Qur’an itself. If he is not a scholar, and in good faith believes what other people say about this issue, he is an ignorant Muslim. If, on the contrary, he is informed about what the Qur’an says and openly opposes it, he ceases to be a Muslim. […]
Oops, there he goes with the takfiri crap, just like other extremists, “Whoever doesn’t accept my interpretation of the Qur’an is automatically a non-believer!” He’s also leaving out quite a lot WRT the Israelis & Palestinians, but we’ll ignore that for now. Here’s Israeli scholar Dina Lisnyansky in the “Christian Edition” of a Jerusalem Post article from 2010 titled The Zionist Imam:
Palazzi “created his own niche. Being born into an immigrant family, he combined the democratic rights of western Europe with a love for Islam,” but added his Zionist mission. As a result, “he is a radical too, but not on the radicals’ side. He is fighting everything that political Islam promotes.”
As such, Lisnyansky says, Palazzi remains a valuable player in the process of understanding between Jews and Muslims, Arabs and Israelis. “One of the reasons why he is not on some black list in Iran is the fact that he, unlike Rushdie, has never said a negative word about Islam. To extremist interpreters of the Qur’an he doesn’t say ‘you are wrong.’ He would only say: ‘You got something wrong.’ His mission, therefore, is clearly not about reinventing Islam; it is about correcting the perspective.”[…]
His own niche indeed. Is your Spidey sense tingling yet? I’ll tell you right now that no mainstream Muslim is going to accept what he asserts. Are you thinking “Yeah, that’s probably because of Israel, because antisemitism & anti-Zionism among Muslims, etc.” Yes and no. A large part of the problem is that while Palazzi may be intelligent, well-educated, and even called “Sheikh,” he’s not an Islamic scholar.
Sure some “progressive” Muslims—many of whom, oddly enough, seem to often be found in the company of wingnuts—may accept him, but those folks are considered fringe (not necessarily because they’re progressive, but because they ally themselves with said right-wing individuals & organizations dedicated to demonizing Muslims). This makes them look extremely suspicious. If you Google (or in this case DuckDuckGo) the name Abdul Hadi Palazzi, you’ll see that quite a lot of people have fallen for his claims, including a fairly wide array of Jewish publications & websites.
I realize that some of those people may be hoping that some sort of Muslim “Pied Piper” will come along and lead the Israelis, Palestinians, and their neighbors to a place where there will magically no longer be any conflict, but that’s just not going to happen. There’s too much water under the bridge at this point for any sort of fairy tale happy ending.
Oh, and one other reason: “Sheikh” Abdul Hadi Palazzi is now Shankar Baba Massimo Palazzi, a Hindu convert. No, I’m not joking—here’s his Facebook, where you’ll find a link to his blog and more photos. I’m guessing he’s not into Muslims any more since I see his “likes” include Vladimir Putin, Geert Wilders, Donald Trump, something with Walid Shoebat’s photo on it (not gonna look), Oriana Fallaci, something called “No all’islam in Italia” accompanied by a photo of a pig statue and crescent moon & star, (it may even be a “Trojan pig,” but that’s another one I’m not gonna explore), a bunch of Israeli flags & Magen David symbols (I wonder how many are Kahanists), something called “Europa Rising” that claims to be a political party and is whining about white genocide, etc. Oh look—there’s Rand Paul and Snidely Whiplash too—I kid you not, LMOA.
So anyway, thanks for playing and don’t say I didn’t warn you if you come across any glowing references to this swivel-eyed… individual.
P.S. Since the private tag only works in comments, please scroll down to comment #1 for one final thing I want to say.