A cleric has left Australia after comments he made against homosexuality sparked a government review of his visa, officials said.
Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a British citizen, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation at Sydney Airport on Tuesday night that he had decided to leave after discussions with the Muslim community.
He said that he had not been asked to leave by the Australian government.
Peter Dutton, the minister for immigration and border protection, said on Wednesday that the cleric left before Dutton’s department cancelled his visa on Tuesday night.
“This individual has decided to leave of his own accord last night, which we welcome and it will be very difficult if not impossible for him to return back to our country,” Dutton told Radio 5AA.
Sekaleshfar came under investigation over a newspaper report quoting comments he had made about homosexuality during a lecture at the University of Michigan in 2013.
The Australian newspaper reported that Sekaleshfar said: “Death is the sentence” for gay sex acts in public.
“Out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now,” he reportedly added.
Cleric denies inciting hatred
Sekaleshfar told ABC his comments had been taken out of context. He expressed sympathy for the families of those killed in the Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub and denied his comments could have inspired such a mass shooting.
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