| Inventing "The Other"|
|Fear And Loathing|
Mohammad Tawhidi (1982/1983–), also known as Imam Tawhidi or Imam of Peace, is an Iranian-Australian useful idiot for islamophobes and racists alike. He self-proclaims as an imam (Muslim religious leader) with an educational background of prestigious Iranian Shia-Islamic seminary, but such credentials are only backed by Daily Mail and MEMRI articles and his status is never recognized by the Australian National Imams Council or its South Australian equivalent. Unfortunately, this places him as an insider with knowledge who exposes the "dark side" of Islam.
His tactic is extensive use of overgeneralization and jonanism, lumping average Muslims together with actual extremists[note 1] and attacking their ordinary lives such as issues of halal certification and mosques, providing justification for outright bigotry. He is also keen on attacking "leftists" (whoever that is) who apparently funded ISIS.[note 2] In spite of his claim about advocating for Muslim sectarian unity, he has almost no followings among Muslims,[note 3] and the fanbase significantly consists of islamophobes, Zionists, and white supremacists. This is hugely problematic from public security standpoint as effective counter-terrorist strategy always requires cooperation with local Muslim communities and institutions.
He was temporarily de-platformed from Facebook in 2017. Predictably, it was widely blasted by the right-wing media. Ironically (and unsurprisingly), he is quick on deleting or removing comments or blocking people from his social media pages.
Hall of shame
He routinely makes outlandish but headline-catching claims about Muslim communities in Australia. Some of the absurdity include:
- Muslims are secretly working for setting up a caliphate in Australia
- Mosques in Australia are run by radical imams and breeding ground for radicalization
- Australia should ban Muslim immigration
- Australia should temporarily ban Muslims immigration from the Middle East
- Muslim schools and mosques should be closed (echoes Ayaan Hirsi Ali)
- Halal certification threatens Australian society
- Islamic religious books should be banned
- Palestine belongs to Jews because Jesus came to Israelites
- Threatened by Muslims and forced to be in hiding in Salman Rushdie-style (denied by the Australian police)
- A transgendered man who has a sexual fetish that involves pretending to be a dog makes Islamic Extremists look reasonable.
Controversy regarding credentials
Facing criticisms regarding his status of imam, he published an apparent investigation from the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) in South Australia. The investigation was conducted by RUSI making a confirmation on behalf of Tawhidi to two clerics, Sayyid Mohammad Mahdi Tabatabai and Sheikh Mahdi Ma'ash. Ironically, Ma'ash is a close friend of Tawhidi, and Tabatabai is considered "nobody" which makes the investigation objectively suspicious. The so-called investigation also did not contact the Australian National Imams Council, and failed to clarify the issue of the university he claimed to have obtain a bachelor and master's degree repeatedly rejecting his claim.
- Right wing media is keen on portraying his islamophobic style as "anti-extremist", "anti-terrorist", or "anti-radical".
- This is ironic as he claims himself as "not right wing nor left wing" and instead "human-wing".
- Some double useful idiot phenomenon is observed on the Sunni extremists side, who occasionally rally against Tawhidi as "Shia extremist" who tries to undermine Sunni Muslim society. This turns into easily exploitable material for both Tawhidi and his islamophobic fanboys.
- Our public discourse is weakened by one-trick contrarians Our public discourse is weakened by one-trick contrarians. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- Welcome to the Weird World of Australia's 'Fake Sheikh', Mohammad Tawhidi. ABC. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- CJ Werleman. The Islamophobia Industry's Favorite Imam is a Fake. (Part 2). Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- Imam Mohammad Tawhidi: The problem with the media's favourite Muslim. ABC Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- Fake Sheikh Tawhidi exposed, banned by Facebook. AMUST. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- US counter-terrorism chief criticizes anti-Muslim political rhetoric. The Guardian. Retrieved September 16, 2018.
- Cherney, Adrian. Community engagement to tackle terrorism and violent extremism: challenges, tensions and pitfalls. An International Journal of Research and Policy, 27(7), 750-763.
- Australian Shiite Imam Mohammad Tawhidi: We Did Not Come to Australia to Have Burqas Running around; Don’t Like it? Hop on a Kangaroo Back to Where You Came from. MEMRI. Retrieved September 17, 2018.