Mohammad Tawhidi: Shirazi’s Taqqiya Man (Charlatan)

Introduction

Twelve to twenty-four months ago, a gentleman by the name of Mohammad Tawhidi emerged into Australian media and quickly became a sensation because he seemed to have straight-talk about Islam, calling it a “violent religion” that has “spread by violence from its beginning” and the Prophet Muhammad a “terrorist Prophet”. He slyly would qualify that as “their terrorist Prophet”. A number of Islamists were interviewed in the Australian media, and their responses quickly gave Tawhidi a foil with which to advance the perception that he was the imam everyone had been waiting for. As is typical for Islamists, their response, because of their own profound ideological liabilities and dishonesty, was to call him a “fake imam.” Tawhidi also reported death threats and provided video of him being called names, and he used these reported attacks, many of which were never verified, to engender sympathy among a significant number of Australians. Similar to what we’ve seen in the rest of the west, the Australians have been awaiting honest Muslim discourse in lieu of the apologetics, denials, and dishonesty spewed by the Islamists.

AIFD heard about Tawhidi in March 2017 when we were contacted by a Fox news reporter regarding a report they were doing about Tawhidi’s work and the attacks upon him in Australia. That report is linked here. One quick note is that Tawhidi continues to use a photograph of our founder, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, in reference to this report on his homepage as if there’s an endorsement, which is entirely dishonest. Dr. Jasser’s words in the piece were “I’m with him on his statements on radical Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups he has been targeting in Australia. He’s right, they are separatists and a threat to the sovereignty of Australia.” Dr. Jasser proceeded to warn that “Tawhidi is not treating the core ideology, which is why Sunni groups have jumped on him and called him fake.” Dr. Jasser made clear that he does not endorse anyone who calls Tawhidi a fraud, but he did not want people to miss the fact that some Shia imams, who may be dishonest, exploit this common occurrence to ignore their own problems within.

Since that time, Tawhidi has continued to grow his contacts, having the time and funding to travel to Europe, Canada, the US and other places building as many prominent contacts as he can among analysts and some thought leaders to whom some of his sound bites and talking points appeal.  On the surface, many of those talking points appear to resemble the ideas we discuss in the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, such as the need to condemn terror groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda and their founding fathers, the Wahabbis, and other various and sundry radical Islamists (Salafi jihadists) by name. We did an initial deep-dive research on Mr. Tawhidi, and as you will see here, we’re very concerned with our findings. The reality of the deceptiveness, dishonesty, and a lack of coherence of Imam Tawhidi’s positions are easy to discern by anyone who takes the time to conduct a thoughtful analysis, rather than relying on a few sound bites or speeches. Frankly, it still is quite incredulous that somebody like Mohammed Tawhidi who lacks any academic or analytical footprint and is without a significant body of commentary, books, chapters, testimonies, or positions vetted or unvetted would be given such a platform in such a short time.  Tawhidi, himself, even admits he was a radical only 2-3 years ago, and for many of the reformers who have been in this field for over a decade establishing a coherent reputation, it is far too early to believe one word from Mr. Tawhidi, and even in the short time that he’s been on the scene, there is nothing consistent about his work. The following is our analysis of his work, or lack thereof, who he is, and what we believe he stands for.

Why AIFD will have nothing to do with Mr. Tawhidi

Since Tawhidi has gained prominence, the question is regularly asked if Imam Tawhidi and Dr. Jasser know one another, as they appear to be fighting for the same causes. It is easy to understand how such may initially appear to be true on paper based on sporadic comments made in a particular context. Both Imam Tawhidi and Dr. Jasser are very similar in their clear condemnations of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Wahhabism, and other specific ideologies, and after our initial review and analysis, Dr. Jasser posted a critical analysis of Tawhidi in the May 2017 Asia Times titled “Is Tawhidi the Imam Australia’s Been Waiting For?”

Regardless, it may be the first thought that Tawhidi should be an obvious ally with AIFD, as we have many reformist allies, Sunni and Shia, in the Muslim Reform Movement. In fact, Dr. Jasser and AIFD convened and co-founded the Muslim Reform Movement in December 2015 as an opportunity for diverse leaders with different ideas to get together under a coalition where they find unity in their common goal of defeating political Islam (Islamism). However, the character and integrity of the individuals is perhaps the most important element of joining the coalition and in engaging publicly, as is the case with any public platform. Many have seen well-known academicians, politicians, religious leaders, and media leaders fall from grace when it is proven that they are inherently dishonest, have lied about a war story, have lied about statements, missions, and other entities. Mr. Tawhidi does not pass even the most cursory of vetting let alone the type of scrutiny a leader in a faith’s reform movement should have. Contrary to some of the childish dismissals that may emanate from Imam Tawhidi about our critique, our position has nothing to do with sectarianism, nothing to do with his qualifications, and is unequivocally related to nothing more than his corruption, dishonesty, and the damage his lack of credibility would extoll on the Muslim Reform Movement and anyone who considers him a colleague towards that same mission. Just as autocrats, tyrants, and theocrats give Islam a bad name, those who identify and work with them deserve to be defeated. They do not deserve platforms. In fact, rather our necessary lack of respect for those accomplices should result in their marginalization. Similarly, Imam Tawhidi is a test for the character and moral courage of the Muslim Reform Movement and, in fact, anyone who chooses to embrace him simply based on a few remarkable things he may say, deserves the same disrespect Tawhidi deserves because of his obvious corruption.

Imam Tawhidi’s commentary and childish responses that followed our initial interactions with him made it incredibly apparent to us that his appearances were concealing a grim reality, that the imam of “peace” is a far cry from the benevolent, often witty façade he has manufactured. He lacks a coherent ideology and understanding of what he means by reform, or which specific ideologies he is looking to change and which ones he’s looking to advance. We will discuss many of these specifics below. In the end, the following review we hope will serve as a resource for those who ask the question “Why isn’t the American Islamic Forum for Democracy working with Imam Mohammad Tawhidi.”

The purpose of this page is to provide the evidence to prove the accuracy of our position as the basis upon which AIFD and Dr. Jasser have rejected any relationship with Imam Tawhidi.

Why we care

Some may ask why we spend so much time and exposure on a gentleman whom we do not respect and diverts us from our primary mission against Islamist movements and for reform? Good question. The bench of reformers as anyone honest knows is very shallow. Many of us started this work after 9/11. AIFD was formed in 2003, and it wasn’t until December 4, 2015, that we found the 14 colleagues who joined together and have demonstrated a consistency and passed much of the public and private vetting necessary for us to feel comfortable. Certainly not that we agreed on everything but rather that our public testimony and character had at least passed muster of what we knew about one another. At the end of the day, any leading reformer who bursts on the scene while being a corrupt charlatan becomes a liability for the entire mission of diverse reform. Obviously, one cannot know everything about everyone and relationships and associations can always evolve; however, even a cursory review of Imam Tawhidi demonstrates that he does not pass even the lowest of standards for inclusion in a respectable leadership organization of Muslim reformers.

Who is Imam Tawhidi?

Imam Tawhidi was born in Iran. He first came to light in 2014 in Australia, and he claims to have studied in Qom, Iran. We will not get into the quality of his credentials, but the veracity of his claims is important. As a non-profit organization that separates mosque and state, we have no interest and are actually very much against the concept of ulemaa (scholars) having an elitism that prevents the lay community from having an equally valid opinion based on intellectual integrity and reason, and certainly not based on the level of one’s credentials.  Therefore, if any group were to dismiss the importance of the level of one’s credentials, it would be us.  However, when someone makes a false claim regarding their credentials, just as it is important when a politician or academic lies on their resume, such an individual would lose their credibility. Similarly, with Mr. Tawhidi, this aspect with regards to veracity is important.  What is most bothersome about Mr. Tawhidi is his dishonesty, duplicity, and deception. This corruption needs to be exposed, and if that includes some of his credentials, then so be it.

For all of the reformers that we work with, their home community in which they reside is known. Where they work is known, and how they make a living is known. None of these details are known for Mr. Tawhidi. He has no professional footprint in the community in which he lives, and a simple dismissal that he had a business prior is not sufficient. His family status has always been deceptive, using it when necessary and introducing his “wife” via Twitter without any verified public discussion about who Tawhidi is. Tawhidi suddenly announces on June 29, 2018, that he’s divorced and the following day announces he will be married again “next year” without anyone being able to verify any of these claims.

There are former radicals that we trust and work with that are part of the reform movement, and they have been vetted over time. They continue to operate in a public space, and they continue to undergo local and national/international vetting. They include individuals like Tawfiq Hamid and Maajid Nawaz to name a few. However, Mr. Tawhidi’s self-proclaimed radicalism that he allegedly left was only a few years ago with lectures dating as recently as June 2016 where Tawhidi talks about the Qu’ran being sent to rule governments. On one hand, Tawhidi is using his credentials of being an imam to make him credible, and on the other hand, when he was that imam, he was a radical. His whole story has never been explained, and what has been explained doesn’t make sense, or it changes depending on the audience.

Credentials

  • In a radio interview that took place on May 25, 2017. Tawhidi explicitly stated, “I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Islamic Theology from the Al-Mustafa University.”
  • In a Facebook video, Tawhidi responded a number of statements issued against him.  One such statement was a letter issued by Al-Mustafa University that indicated Tawhidi dropped out in 2012 without receiving any degrees from their university.  In his response, Tawhidi indicated he would respond to Al-Mustafa University’s letter at a later date, dismissed the issue, and failed to produce any such response.
  • In response to escalating criticism over the accuracy of his alleged credentials, Tawhidi posted a letter from the Royal United Services Institute of Australia – South Australia (RUSI-SA), an organization funded by the Australian Department of Defence.  RUSI-SA found it appropriate for themselves to supposedly conduct an investigation and confirm that Tawhidi is an imam, and he is qualified to represent Muslims.
    •  We find it exceedingly odd that in order to verify his credentials, Tawhidi enlisted an Australian governmentally funded organization to supposedly provide verification of those credentials. They are not a religious organization, nor are they an authentication of certification organization.
    • One of the individuals who was interviewed in this investigation, Mahdi Ma’ash, is a close personal friend of Tawhidi according to multiple Facebook posts from Tawhidi.  Ma’ash is also a representative of Sayid Sadiq Shirazi.
    • How does a government funded organization become involved in determining who represents members of any particular faith?
    • Why will Tawhidi not condemn his supposed mentor Shirazi (and all of his draconian fatwas), and conversely Shirazi’s representatives will not condemn Tawhidi?
    • Tawhidi is yet to address the primary issue, that being the fact that he lied about his credentials.
  • Again, whether or not Tawhidi has credentials is not the point.  What is significant is the value and intellectual consistency of his ideas and whether he is lying about them. It would have been far more honorable just to say he dropped out of the schools or is certified by Imam Shirazi himself because of his undying fealty and not due to any degree attainment. However, if his credentials are made up that he purports to have, then that speaks to his integrity and corrupt character.  We are concerned by the subsequent corruption we witnessed in Tawhidi’s failure to disclose that a friend participated in RUSI-SA’s investigation from which Tawhidi acquired credibility.

Who is Sayid Sadiq Shirazi?

  • Shirazi is a grand ayatollah, and Imam Tawhidi’s claimed mentor and teacher. Tawhidi is proud of his video literally kissing Shirazi’s feet demonstrating fealty.
    • At AIFD, we obviously have significant value on scholarship and those who have studied Islamic law, Qur’anic and hadith studies, but a red flag does go up in anyone who has a specific fealty to a specific imam, sheikh, guru, or scholar because  when that reformer cannot clearly dissect his separation from his mentor’s teachings, then that person themselves is not the reformer, it might as well be their mentor.  If they create a body of work that separates them from their mentor, then he is no longer their mentor with sworn fealty but simply somebody he happened to study under.  With Shirazi, who Tawhidi has repeatedly claimed to be Shirazi’s representative in Australia, Tawhidi has never disassociated himself with any clear and convincing academic dissections critiquing the volumes of abhorrent material in Shirazi’s texts. His few dismissive tweets or comments on Facebook live when we pressed do not cut it for anyone rational.
  • The Shirazis were initially involved in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, however, the Shirazis grew angry with the current Iranian regime when the Shirazis preferred type of government was not implemented. This schism is deep and as the Shirazis became antagonized with the Islamic revolution and the Khomeinists, they moved operations to the West based in places like London in order to weaken the Khomeinists from abroad. Note that they have regularly held radical mass sessions of self-flagellation (called tatbir) where they beat themselves to a bloody horror in the streets during a sh’ia holiday. Only recently did Tawhidi abandon this radical ritual and his so-called reform never addresses this or its origins.
  • Shirazi is an obvious extremist who teaches many vile ideas including:
    • the marriage of children as young as nine
    • taqqiya is “obligatory.”
    • the grotesque oppression of women
      • FGM
      • women are not allowed to leave the house without their husband’s permission to avoid depriving the husband of his right to intercourse at his beckon call
      • men are “in charge” of women
      • the hijab is mandatory, while a full veil is preferred
      • half the pay they are entitled to if their husband allows them to have a career
      • Men may not touch a woman with even a handshake.
    • the need for governments to rule by the Qu’ran
    • Chemical weapons are acceptable
    • polygamy
    • political parties are acceptable only if they are a first step towards bringing Islamic governance to the west.
    • The west is “forbidden evil.”
  • Tawhidi is intrinsically linked to Shirazi
    • Tawhidi has opened several Islamic seminaries with the help of Shirazi, as discussed in the next section.
    • A letter released by Tawhidi on December 25, 2015, states his ideas are better off concealed, and foreshadows his current role as a reformer, indicating it is per the suggestion of Shirazi and in order to better serve Ahlulbayt.
    • To this day, Tawhidi still endorses Shirazi whenever the opportunity presents itself, and Tawhidi openly admitted in a video response to Dr. Jasser that he “follows” Shirazi, as discussed below.
    • Tawhidi was distributing Shirazi’s Islamic law book to Australians
    • A large portrait of Shirazi hangs in Tawhidi’s office
      • When asked about this portrait via Facebook, Tawhidi indicated Shirazi is the grand authority and equated Shirazi to the pope for Catholics
  • Tawhidi adamantly refuses to criticize Shirazi
  • To read the full text of Shirazi’s horrific ideas that Tawhidi was distributing to Australians via Facebook and that Tawhidi flaunted during a media appearance, click here

Imam Tawhidi’s Business(es): His shell companies, organizations, and personal endeavors.

  • 2016 His book
    • Tawhidi first indicated in 2016 that he would be releasing a book
    • He has since made multiple posts referencing the books alleged status and offering excuses as to why it has not yet been released.
    • Tawhidi has stated several times that the “publishers” of his “book” have made multiple attempts to discourage him from releasing the book or omit certain sections.  Consistent with Tawhidi’s unverifiable public footprint, unverifiable previous relationships, and questionable business endeavors, nobody has been able to verify Tawhidi’s claims about his alleged interactions with his publisher, or if they even exist, nor has anybody seen a book.
  • 2016 Founded the Zainabiyah Hawza of Indonesia under the directives of Sayid Sadiq Shirazi
  • 2016 Founded the Zainabiyah Hawza of Australia under the directives of Sayid Sadiq Shirazi
  • 2016 established the Islamic Association of South Australia
    • Established on February 13, 2016, under (ABN 58 301 338 779)
    • In this ABC podcast,  Bronwyn Adcock conducted an in depth investigation into Tawhidi and his operation.  Tawhidi dismissed the entire report as a liberal attack, however, Tawhidi has never addressed any of the facts that she unroofed.  In fact, when she went to Tawhidi’s office that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere by her own account, in a hallway down a small office, there was no response, and she notes that the address for his office location appeared to be an abandoned office.  It is frankly, quite bizarre, that an individual doing business in Adelaide would not have a public footprint about what his local activities are, either in his primary work, whatever his business may be in which he makes an income, or his family, or his public presence.  You will find very little local media, or even postings, about Mr. Tawhidi in Adelaide, Australia.
    • According to a press release issued on Sayid Sadiq Shirazi’s website, the organization operates under the directives of Sayid Sadiq Shirazi.
    • On July 5, 2017, Imam Tawhidi released a Facebook video in response to criticism over a GoFundMe campaign to allegedly raise money to upgrade his security.  In the video, Tawhidi indicates he will be leaving the Islamic Association of South Australia, and he promises to release their financial statements in PDF format on his website.  He never did.
    • Trying to understand whether Tawhidi is a corrupt, kleptocratic charlatan, or whether he has a mission (Shrirazi’s mission).  It is going to be difficult to tell the difference, but likely in the business aspect, he may have connections to Shirazi, as it is not clear where he is getting the finances from.  We were not able to find 990’s, as we have in the United States that explain how much salary he receives, and it is not apparent that he has another business or that he is independently wealthy.
  • 2017 The Imam Tawhidi Foundation –
    • according to the ACNC Charity Register Summary, the Imam Tawhidi Foundation was established on February 13, 2016, as ABN 58 301 338 779.
    • The identical ABN and date of establishment suggest Tawhidi switched the name of his organization from the Islamic Association of South Australia to The Imam Tawhidi Foundation, therefore, he will not be “leaving it behind” as indicated.
    • It is unclear whether the organization is still linked to Sayid Sadiq Shirazi, and on June 19, 2017, Tawhidi made a Facebook post where he stated his relationship with Shirazi is nobody’s business.  Tawhidi deleted the post after it was scrutinized in Browyn Adcock’s ABC investigation.
    • Tawhidi has began asking for donations to a paypal account he has set up for his security through the Imam Tawhidi Foundation
    • Not only did Tawhidi fail to honor his promise to release financial statements for the Islamic Association of South Australia, but he is more than six months delinquent in submitting the necessary information to the Australian government.
  • 2018 The National Independent –
    • In this time, Tawhidi indicated he did not want to be involved in any government, and instead, he was starting a media platfrom.  December 22, 2017, Imam Tawhidi launched a second GoFundMe campaign, soliciting donations to establish a media platform aimed at tackling Islamic extremism. Tawhidi indicated this project would encompass an independent research department of journalists and eventually a news studio.
    • The campaign raised an excess of $10,000 and has resulted in nothing more than a website that has been dormant since March… and Tawhidi still solicits his journalist friends to cover the delicate topics
    • The Twitter account for the National Independent (@thenationalind) that Tawhidi referenced when soliciting donations no longer exists and has been switched to @intelldesk, and there is a high prevalence of bot followers.

His Ideology or mission?

  • For an imam who goes around and challenges individuals to debate and claiming to be an authority, he has no mechanism by which somebody debating him can understand what his ideology is.  He doesn’t declare what he stands for, his only ideology that he declares fealty to is Shirazi’s ideology, and thus, understanding the source of his ideas would be an adventure in speculation and fantasy.  He has no material on his websites that are narratives, commentary, or source material demonstrating his ideology.
  • Frequent changes to the content on his website prohibit any vetting of his ideology.  There is no way to determine what he stands for when there is so little consistency. His tweets and his facebook posts also change on a daily basis with a large portion deleted by various “acts of nature” or conspiracies.
    • The American Islamic Forum for Democracy has posted or linked on our website every piece written since our origin in March of 2003. Importantly also they have not been massaged, modified nor deleted as Tawhidi is want to do with his sites. We have a clear and consistent footprint that can easily be tracked.  This is far from the reality with Mr. Tawhidi and his various organizations. All of this can be verified on the waybackmachine and other snapshots we have provided in this analysis.
  • If you look at Tawhidi’s Huffington Post pieces, (his only known existing op-eds) you see that he never used the term “Islamism” until he was confronted on the issue by Dr. Jasser, and he still seems to have no concept of what it is. This is indicative of his ability to tell people exactly what they want to hear regardless of whether he believes it to be true.  As evident in his responses to Dr. Jasser, Tawhidi’s ideology seems to be one of dismissiveness without detail or references and personal attacks without any accountability for his own hypocrisy.
  • In one of Tawhidi’s Huffington Post editorials, he endorses the concept of an Islamic government. After providing a link to one of Shirazi’s books, Tawhidi states “It is safe to say that, after reading this book, one will find that such a perfect government does not exist on the face of the earth.” Such an article is incomprehensible for a reformer, and indicative of his scattered logic.
  • In a Facebook video response to Zuhdi Jasser’s Asia Times editorial, Tawhidi indicated he chooses to follow Sayid Sadiq Shirazi, using his relationship with the Shirazi jurisdiction to refute Dr. Jasser’s comment about Tawhidi not criticizing Iran and Hezbollah.
    • Imam Tawhidi has since become incredibly outspoken against the Iranian regime via Facebook and Twitter, but he is yet to write any intellectual pieces or op-eds in any circulation that discusses any of the specifics of his ideologies. Twitter 280 character comments do not make an opinion verified, nor of any use.  An imam who honestly and genuinely wants to reform Islam should have pieces, chapters, references online readily available in a weekly growing volume of material discussing his problems for example with Sheikh Nasarallah’s (head of Hezbollah) laws, sermons, and other academic delineations of his own ideology. The recognition Mr. Tawhidi has gotten does not fit his complete absence of any intellectual deconstructions of the ideologies he claims to dismiss and counter.  Again, it is important to note that all of his criticisms about Hezbollah and the Iranian regime for example only came after Dr. Jasser’s criticism that all of Tawhidi’s identification of groups he rejected were Sunni radical groups with no Shia groups.
      • Upon grasping the sectarian dynamics, it is logical to notice that the hostility Tawhidi now spews towards the Iranian regime does not seem to stem repetively from a human rights perspective, rather it seems to stem from a deep-seated resentment as a follower of Shirazi and his clan who are against the Khomeinists.
      • On his appearance in the “Secular Jihadist” podcast, Tawhidi was asked if there were any specific issues he disagreed with Shirazi on.  Tawhidi’s response was “I am not on Shirazi’s level of education in Islam to clash with him ideologically.” Yet he bizarrely makes gross generalizations about “Islam” on a daily basis.
      • Most importantly, demonstrating his taqqiya (dissimulation) is the fact that the sectarian dynamics initially give the impression that he criticizes both Sunni and Shia denominations. However, Tawhidi adamantly refuses to condemn the faults within his own subsect of Shi’ism, which likely stems from his belief that Shirazi’s methods are “perfect.”  Contrary to what we would expect from a legitimate reformer, Tawhidi openly advocates for Shirazi and whitewashes Shirazi’s vile, antiquated ideas. In fact, his contrary gross generalizations about Sunnis and known Sunni historical figures is far from academic and in fact more pandering to an ignorant audience or his primary Shi’a constituency. In fact, his gross language in describing various Sunni figures reveals his visceral and less than academic agenda. Tawhidi regularly indicates that Shirazi was his teacher, yet Tawhidi refuses to criticize Shirazi’s ideas.  Real reform cannot happen if somebody maintains fealty to anyone. It needs to be an individualized approach against all Islamist power structures and Islamist ideas.  At the end of the day, Shirazi is an Islamist through any read of his book.
        • If Tawhidi was honest, he would start with the deconstruction of the faults within his own ideologies, and Shirazi’s texts condone a whole host of behaviors, practices, and ideas that are incompatible with western freedom, human rights, and liberalism some of which are noted above.
        • At the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, we will often say we look towards Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, James Madison and other Western scholars in addition to Abdullai Na’im, Mustafa Akyol, Fazlur Rahman, Bassam Tibi, Fatima Marnissi, Abdurahman Wahid and other Muslim scholars that we use to discuss and demonstrate as thinkers that are counter/anti-Islamist, pro-liberty, and pro-universal human rights. Tawhidi never names any scholars to whom someone is to believe have impacted his own beliefs, and if he is so brilliant that all of his ideas have come from within, they are nowhere to be found on the internet or publicly.
  • Authoritarian ideology: Tawhidi has repeatedly endorsed methods similar to Saudi government/Iranian regime and other tyrannical military states for controlling against radical Islamist influence or those against whom he is “reforming”.  Tawhidi clearly has no concept of a liberal, democratic state and has not demonstrated any ability to define that as his goal, proving that he is not an advocate of freedom and liberty, but rather is about authoritarianism, as long as it includes direction and control by Shirazi’s cronies. His Huffington Post piece on the true “Islamic State” uses the fact that Khomeinists drink alcohol to prove their duplicity as not being an Islamic state. And then he repeatedly therein cites the example of a state run by the likes of Shirazi as being the ideal state, quoting Shirazi’s text: Politics the Very Heart of Islam. How anyone could write that Huffington Post and then claim to not be an Islamist, let alone an anti-Islamist is an exercise in mental jujitsu fit for Hizballah or the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Jordan Schactel calls out Tawhidi for his advocacy of a police state
    • Note: every link in Jordan’s article is broken, as Tawhidi has deleted the tweets sometime after the criticism.  He posted the same message to Facebook.

      Tawhidi calls for a police state

  • In a Facebook video (below), Imam Tawhidi suggests privately hanging terrorists from a crane within the same hour they are arrested.  This again shows a man who is unhinged, could never really lead a movement, and simply operates from a visceral sense of cathartically telling certain segments of the population what he feels they want to hear.

Given the emphasis and importance Tawhidi frequently places on his alleged status as an imam, in conjunction with the short duration of time that has elapsed since his alleged awakening (that he cannot explain) from being a radical, it seems logical to look at the ideas Tawhidi was condoning while representing Shirazi (who Tawhidi refuses to disassociate himself from).  The last footage of him actually being an imam that can be found reveals rather radical verbiage and accentuates the importance of Tawhidi distancing himself from his “former” teacher and mentor. This footage again speaks to the hypocrisy and dishonesty of his current claims of ideology.

 

 

Social media history

Imam Tawhidi has a long and disturbing history on social media that can be traced back to early 2013. Tawhidi habitually makes posts, deletes them, and then denies ever making them, which is indicative of his character. He lacks any sort of consistency, and his public footprint is a nightmare for anyone concerned with credibility.

  • Twitter – A history of vile and vulgar tweets that Imam Tawhidi attempted to conceal.  A pathological approach to his twitter handles with a bizarre amount of extreme comments made and then deleted, demonstrating a human being who does not want to be held accountable to every word he says in public, or even most words he says in public.  While Tawhidi has publicly denied ownership of the profane tweets, this thoughtful, very important, analysis indicates Tawhidi has once again neglected to be honest.  Tawhidi is open about being a former radical.  If he were an honest human being with integrity, who had truly abandoned his radical past, he would’ve acknowledged his wrong doing, apologized, about comments he made on @BrotherTawhidi and moved on. In fact, as the analysis show, many of his current comments mirror his radicalism he showed @BrotherTawhidi. His failure to acknowledge that alludes to the possibility that he has not changed and is attempting to conceal the radical ideology he still possesses, as he stated he would do in the previously mentioned December 2015 letter. And this twitter analysis demonstrates that his bizarre deceptive approach to social media continued throughout his current twitter account- @Imamofpeace. Also of note in the analysis we have linked is that Tawhidi’s twitter following demonstrated consistent behavior proving that the large number of followers were artificially generated by bots and not a real following of actual human beings. See the full analysis.
  • Facebook – A history of endorsing and promoting Sayid Sadiq Shirazi, who Tawhidi will not criticize.
  • Instagram – A private account catered to his fellow Shirazi followers that is heavily devoted to Sayid Sadiq Shirazi, demonstrating his fealty to Shirazi and unwillingness to criticize Shirazi’s ideas.
  • At one point, Tawhidi displayed a Shia flag on his private Instagram account catered to his Shirazi following and an Australian flag to his non-Muslim following on Twitter and Facebook.
    • When Dr. Jasser called out Imam Tawhidi on the bizarre aspect of how a defender of the secular nation state of Australia who stand in front of an Islamic national flag of any kind, Tawhidi’s response was to declare Dr. Jasser was an “undercover radical Wahhabi radical Muslim” and that dr. Jasser had criticized and offended his deeply held religious belief and fealty toward Shirazi.  Tawhidi’s tweets to Dr. Jasser have since been deleted. But again, none of Dr. Jasser’s tweets have been deleted and can still be found.
    • Instagram vs Twitter

Hypocrisy and double standards

Imam Tawhidi has made a habit out of applying standards to others that he neglects to apply to himself.

  • Tawhidi claims “only fundamentalists play the sectarian card,” then accuses others of having an anti-Shia bias against him
  • Tawhidi says “fake reformers” care about sects while true reformers criticize all denominations, and then he refuses to criticize his own denomination.
  • Tawhidi states reform is impossible, yet he identifies as a reformer, and claims that Islam will not survive if it does not reform
    • The Muslim Reform Movement made a very important nuance that it is Muslims that need reform while Tawhidi continues to talk about Islam needing reform.  This is an important distinction of genuine reform because Muslims believe that Islam is God’s faith, so it is not Islam that we are reforming, rather it is the human interpretation of that. Now Muslim Reform Movement leaders, as Dr. Jasser states, do note that the predominant (in fact the normative) interpretation of Islam today needs to be reformed, modernized and all Islamist elements (salafi-Jihadi) and otherwise incompatible with modernity need to be relegated to history. But these nuances are important for any deeply believing Muslim who loves their faith. Tawhidi thus in his carelessness of language comes across quite differently.
  • Tawhidi says only “Islamists draw red lines,” yet he draws a “red line” when asked about his ideology or when asked to condemn the vile, antiquated ideas of Shirazi.
  • Tawhidi claims (in multiple tweets) the Muslim Reform Movement and AIFD are “scams” and “money making businesses,” while he has run multiple crowd-funding campaigns in which he has failed to produce the promised results.
  • In an op-ed for Huffington Post on taqqiya, Tawhidi indicates taqqiya can only be used in life and death situations, yet he frequently accuses others of taqqiya in situations that are not life and death.  We would ask everyone to read the piece, as in the end, he admits that taqqiya is not just about life and death, but there are certain situations in which it may need to be used, demonstrating that in his own ability to claim the moral high ground, he couldn’t even dismiss taqqiya as what it is, which is lying.
    • NOTE:  Tawhidi has removed his editorial on taqqiya from the Huffington Post website.  It can now be found in the Wayback archive by following this link
    • In the article, Tawhidi states “Since Shi’a Muslims had been and still are the minority within Islam, they suffered genocide which continues to this very day. Thus, Taqiyyah still holds a significance in Shi’a Islam, particularly when Shi’as are under the political dominance of Sunni Muslims, requiring them to protect themselves through concealment and dissimulation.”
      • As of now, Tawhidi has not yet altered his social media website to reflect his decision to delete the taqqiya article from Huffington Post, as it is still featured on his Facebook page. 
  • When trying to “prove” that a statement was not released by him, rather it was someone “impersonating” him, he posts that all authentic statements issued by him are released on his websites, then he claims he allegedly sent a letter to Mayor De Blasio in 2016 that is not found on his websites (and likely was never sent).

 

Exacerbation and exploitation of schisms between Shia and Sunni

  • Repeatedly, Tawhidi has shown derogatory and grotesque references on social media to Sunni figures, including the caliphs and the Prophet’s wife.  These derogatory and grotesque references are not exclusive to his days as @BrotherTawhidi (which Tawhidi has actually tried to claim is not his account, but we have evidence suggesting it is in fact his), rather the Imam of “Peace” has made multiple crude references to both the Prophet’s wife and the second caliph of Muslims. While it is commonplace for Shia Muslims to view these figures less favorably than Sunni’s, followers of Shirazi are notorious for their sectarianism and obscene insults towards other sects of Islam.  This is not consistent with an imam who loves his faith, and again, is unworkable.  This vulgar language is typical of extreme Islamist Shia ideologies that are quite radical and not humanitarian.
  • Since operating the account BrotherTawhidi on Twitter and then denying it was him, Tawhidi has proceeded to use the same obscene, divisive, inflammatory, condescending language on his subsequent accounts.

Attacks on reformers that are incoherent

  • Tawhidi has made several bizarre criticisms of reformers that are unhinged, unfounded, and he provides no evidence, alluding to his dishonesty, cognitive impairment, and dysfunction in having any kind of intelligible debate.
  • Days after a Twitter exchange with Dr. Jasser, Tawhidi released an op-ed on Huffington Post claiming that “undercover radicals” are stopping the reformation.
  • Tawhidi has claimed that our foundation and others are Muslim Brotherhood and radical, again, he has no evidence of that, nor is there any truth to his claims
  • Tawhidi said reformers are just after finances, when in fact our projects and movements are well established and documented. Our writings and platforms have developed and are growing.  They include a large public footprint of ideologies, texts, chapters, and writings that are building a body of thought.
    • When libeling AIFD as a money-making scam, Tawhidi used deeply compromised sources like MotherJones, radical Islamist organizations in the US like CAIR, and suggested people support Edip Yuksel an anti-American, politically obsessed activist who made this revealing, whacky video about AIFD.  Tawhidi’s endorsement of Yuksel without even knowing his ideology, that he has produced videos full of anti-Americanism, stated our military committed war crimes and his psychotic approach to Dr. Jasser’s work here locally proves that Tawhidi is not serious in anything and certainly is not a conservative.  Tawhidi likely wouldn’t know conservatism if it hit him in the face.
  • Criticisms about reform are not only incoherent, but he describes himself as a reformer, then says that reform is impossible. It makes no sense… he applies none of the standards to himself.
  • Tawhidi has recently announced that he will be issuing a translation of the Qur’an, ignoring translations that reformists have talked about, including the translation discussed below, in addition to Dr. Jasser’s book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam, which has a chapter on various translations of the Qu’ran that details an academic approach to some common radicalized interpretations. Many of Dr. Jasser’s writings reference modern interpretations of the Qur’anic Arabic.

Recklessness with commentary regarding Islam

When faced with detailed criticism from the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Tawhidi’s response has been to make vague, libelous claims stating the Dr. Jasser is a Wahhabi, a Muslim Brotherhood operative, and a number of other insane conclusions with no evidence whatsoever.  Anyone who follows the work of AIFD knows that from the beginning, as Dr. Jasser has stated in his 2012 Simon & Schuster book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam, that as a Muslim who loves his faith, he believes in the Qur’an and its authenticity to the comma in the Arabic script and in its revealed nature. Our work is related to expunging much of “Hadith” which is mostly corrupted and modernizing Qur’anic interpretation of the revealed Arabic script. We seek to or relegate some passages to history as no longer applicable or relevant or relegate to metaphor.

When wanting to lash out after blocking Dr. Jasser on social media, Tawhidi bizarrely took to Twitter where he cowardly and obliquely referenced our work in a way that nobody really knew exactly what he was talking about, and yet it’s obvious to those of us exposing his dishonesty that he was referencing our work, but not naming us directly. He talked about Dr. Jasser not knowing Arabic, as if somehow Tawhidi knew that to be true or that Dr. Jasser’s work was ever demonstrably proven to be mistranslations of Arabic.  He either ignorantly or intentionally AND malignantly ignored the fact that Mohammad K. Jasser, Dr. Jasser’s father, spent over ten years translating the Qu’ran from classical Arabic to English.  Mohammed K. Jasser’s book, The Holy Koran: An Interpretive Translation from Classical Arabic into Contemporary English, is a full translation and explanation of the entire Qu’ran, and it academically refutes all of the radical interpretations of the Wahhabis, the Salafis, and the Khomenists, and the Deobandis to name a few.

Tawhidi says Islam has been aggressive since its origin, and that Islam has been spread by the sword. Tawhidi’s laziness and lack of accuracy makes a significant impediment to ever working with him as Muslims who love our faith.  One is forced to believe that if Tawhidi is a Muslim who loves his faith, that the “Islam” Tawhidi is referencing is “Sunni Islam” and the Sunni caliphs being the first three, and not the fourth. When he references “Islam,” he is referring to “Sunni Islam” and the caliphs. In his initial diatribes against Dr. Jasser, Tawhidi claimed Dr. Jasser was not genuine because Dr. Jasser was defending the Sunni caliphs, which is absolutely absurd considering Dr. Jasser has detailed writings on the record citing how the deterioration in the Islamic tradition began immediately upon the death of the Prophet.  He has noted frequently criticisms of many of the actions of the sahaba, the friends of the Prophet, whether they were Sunni or Shia. Essentially, a Shia Muslim was demanding that a Sunni Muslim renounce Sunnism, which is absolutely absurd.  He essentially is ignoring the fact that the focus of AIFD’s work is anti-Islamism, both the Sunni and Shia varieties and in all of their forms.  The mission statement of AIFD has always been to simply separate mosque and state.  Full stop. Regardless of differences in heterodoxy. Tawhidi has never articulated that sentence, let alone stepped away from his own obsession on sectarianism.  Tawhidi epitomizes the illness of sectarianism. Tawhidi’s recurrent hostility, vulgarity, and his insistence that any Muslim who doesn’t emulate his interpretation of the faith is an “undercover radical” indicates he cannot be trusted with nuanced conversation within Islam and between leaders of faiths.

The (alleged) Letter to de Blasio

After a terrorist attack in NYC, Imam Tawhidi attempted to gain influence by claiming he sent Mayor de Blasio a letter in 2016 warning of the potential threats.  De Blasio’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, stated via Twitter that the office never received any such letter.  After our thorough analysis of the letter, we are inclined to believe that Tawhidi concocted the story after the terror attack in New York City in order to gain media attention.  Read our report here.

Final Thoughts

While Tawhidi’s disguise is certainly elaborate, an honest and detailed evaluation demonstrates that it is, in fact, a disguise.  Two years ago, he released a letter telling us exactly what was going to take place.  Strangely enough, it was exactly three weeks after the official launch of the Muslim Reform Movement that Shirazi instructed Tawhidi to pursue this “change of course.”  Tawhidi offers no explanation for how he arrived on this volatile path, and he’s attacking Shirazi’s known enemies with a vengeance.  He won’t criticize Shirazi’s ideas, nor did Shirazi’s representatives use the opportunity that was handed to them to make Tawhidi’s credibility disappear, rather they vouched on his behalf, enabling him to escape concerns over his credentials, virtually unscathed.  How many times can one look the other way before they see the entire picture?

As if the writing isn’t already on the walls, Tawhidi makes statements according to his audience and then changes his statements to pacify the next group of potential enablers.  He’s hypocritical and dishonest and continues to fabricate contradictory excuses to remain compatible with Shirazi’s brand of sharia law while posing as a gregarious reformer.  Things as simple as the fact that he can’t give a consistent reason as to why he won’t shave his beard or why he wears a white glove to shake a woman’s hand, in addition to how inordinately defensive he gets when faced with valid criticism.  He wants to ban Sunni books and close Sunni mosques to advance his undisclosed ideology, and he’s looking to oust the Iranian regime to vindicate the Shirazis for their lost power struggle in Iran after the revolution.  He’s aligning with government officials to gain influence over their actions, and he’s using the public’s lack of knowledge on sectarian dynamics to assist him with his irrefutably sectarian agenda. He has interestingly not written one sympathetic item for the people of Syria and against the genocide that has happened against Muslims in Syria and in fact he endorsed openly recommending all people follow one of Assad’s and Hizballah’s most prominent and notorious social media advocates who goes by the name Sarah Abdallah (See BBC and here and here.)  Tawhidi continued to retweet Sarah after learning who she is.  Tawhidi responded bristled at Dr. Jasser’s comparison of Tawhidi’s approach to that of Bashar Assad’s approach to Sunnis as a fake secularist tool of the Khomeinists. Yet, this reformer has not seen it fit to write one column let alone give the Syrian radical Shi’a dictatorship of the Assad regime its due critique. Just because he’s acting as though his turban entitles him to a free pass doesn’t mean that’s true.

Tawhidi went from patronizing Dr. Jasser and trying to align with him, to calling him every name in the sectarian playbook when Dr. Jasser didn’t buy what Tawhidi was selling.  Tawhidi didn’t evolve and change his beliefs about Dr. Jasser, rather he recognized his current strategy wasn’t helping him achieve his goal, so took another “change of course.”  Whether he calls himself “Brother Tawhidi,” “Tawhidicom” or the “imam of peace,” make no mistake about it, his goals have not changed, nor has he evolved, rather he’s once again changing his strategy in service to Shirazi and Shirazi’s mission.

Whatever incarnation of himself Mohammed Tawhidi attempts to evolve into, one thing is certain, he should not be trusted with the confidence of anyone who truly cares about national security nor the fate of liberal societies and our Muslim communities.

The above analysis reveals the poor character of a human being who has burst on to the scene of Muslim reform and one with whom the American Islamic Forum for Democracy will not ever associate nor endorse, nor have anything to do with. You may find over the next one to 12 months or more that Mr. Tawhidi takes it upon himself to correct these issues and rebrand, yet again, his taqqiya (dissimulation) operation, then say “look, they still don’t accept me.” This is an individual who has lost any ability to be trusted and, ultimately, he is certainly not the last imam on the planet with whom our organization, or other reformers, can work with.  No matter how much self-correction Tawhidi undergoes, at the end of the day, he has never demonstrated the ability to be transparent or trusted.

 

Update: As of August 26, 2018, Tawhidi has removed the above mentioned Huffington Post editorial in which he stated “one will find that such a perfect government does not exist on the face of the earth” than the type of government discussed in Shirazi’s book, Politics, the Very Heart of Islam.  The article can now be found in the Wayback archive by following this link.  As we predicted, and true to form, Mr. Tawhidi has again within only 4 days of our posting of this research, quickly tried to scrub the public record of his opinion on so-called Islamic governance and Islamic state establishment under the likes of Ayatollah Shirazi. His Taqqiya and profound lack of transparency again shows itself as he here removes the piece demonstrating that even his recent writings demonstrate the ideology of a hardcore Islamist who believes in a form of the Islamic state only run by Shirazi’s school of thought. Here is Shirazi’s sharia text again to see the laws that would be invoked:  http://www.english.shirazi.ir/books/Islamic_Law_2013_SecondEdition.pdf

Posted August 19, 2018

Note: We will continue to make updates to this document and allow this page to be a living document that remains as a webpage dedicated to exposing the reality of what is the chameleon and charlatan that is Mohammad Tawhidi of Adelaide, Australia.