The Islamophobia Industry’s Favorite Imam is a Fake. (Part 2)

Published by CJ Werleman Independent, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project that seeks to expose and end Western injustices against Muslims. Please SUPPORT his fight against injustice by clicking here.

Last month, I published an expose of the Islamophobia Industry’s favorite self-proclaimed Imam, Sheikh Tahwhidi, who appeared suddenly on the Australian media landscape, seemingly out of nowhere, and who operates as little more than a cartoonish portrayal of every anti-Muslim bigot’s imagination.

The thing is, however, Tawhidi is not an Imam, nor is Tawhidi recognised as an Imam by either the Australian National Imams Council or its South Australian equivalent, “nor is he affiliated with any Australian mosque or prayer centre,” according to an investigation into the “fake Sheikh.”

But instead of offering a rebuttal to any of the provable claims made against him in my piece, Tawhidi, instead, chose to smear me on social media, pointing to a Tweet I posted in 2009 — from the days of my self-confessed Islamophobic ways — in hope that silencing the messenger will kill the message.

In the days that followed the article’s publication, Tawhidi blocked any and all who questioned his credibility and authenticity. At last count, several hundred Twitter uses posted tweets saying they had been blocked by the fake Imam as a result of having posted a link to my piece. Below are but two examples.

Clearly stung by credible and provable claims he is not who claims to be, Tawhidi has solicited an “investigation” from the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) in South Australia, Australia, to counter claims made in my piece.

So, here’s the thing: this so-called “investigation” amounts to nothing more than two phone calls made by RUSI on behalf of Tawhidi. One to Sayid Mohammad Mahdi Tabatabai and the other to Sheikh Mahdi Ma’ash.

Here’s where we this “investigation” runs into its first big problem. Sheikh Mahdi Ma’ash is a personal friend of Tawhidi, a friendship Tawhidi has boasted openly about and repeatedly on his Facebook page.

I mean, what kind of credible “investigation” relies on the testimony of a personal friend to the subject, and then fails to disclose that relationship in its summary of the “investigation”?

Not only am I not the only one who finds this extraordinarily suspicious, but Tawhidi blocks anyone who raises this very question or concern:

Even more troubling is the fact the “investigation” claims Ma’ash represents the “Grand Islamic Jurisdiction of Qum and Karbala,” but he holds no such title. Ma’ash is merely a representative of the office of Ayatollah Shirazi, who is regarded as a fringe and extremist cleric, and whom Tawhidi compares to the Pope, which raises another inconvenient question: if Tawhidi’s schtick is to counter the influence of Islamic extremists, then why does he promote and endorse those who hold extremist beliefs?

“The funny thing is that it [RUSI investigation]disproves what he has been saying all along — he’s been saying that he’s a pariah in Iran for his ‘reformist’ views and that is why his alma mater is denying he graduated there. But his RUSI article over did it, and goes on to say that he’s a well respected and recognised cleric,” an anonymous source told me. “So which is it? Is he a pariah who people distance themselves from, or is he beloved? If he was so beloved and respected, then why would the university distance themself from him? [Basically] Tawhidi over did it and shot himself in the foot.”

Remarkably, the so-called “investigation” did not contact the university that Tawhidi has claimed he received both a bachelor and master’s degree from, which is extraordinary given the university has made often repeated claims Tawhidi failed to graduate, dropping out after only one year.

I contacted RUSI via email to ask the following questions:

  1. Why it failed to disclose the relationship between Tawhidi and Ma’ash, and
  2. Why it failed to contact al-Mustafa University, and
  3. Why it failed to contact the Australian National Imams Council?

As of yet, RUSI has not replied to my query.

Ultimately, this so-called “investigation” has done nothing to address credible claims against his authenticity, and has only created even more doubts among those who are familiar with his conspiratorial driven anti-Sunni Muslim antics.

In the meantime, however, Tawhidi will continue to pander to slobbering, white anti-Muslim bigots, and far right extremists by giving them exactly what they want: narratives and “humor” that portray Islam as a threat to Western civilization.

This is what Tahwidi is, and this is what the fake Imam does: preys on the fears of those who are already made afraid of Muslims, by portraying himself as whistleblower among their ranks. He sells a product, and one that Muslim hating racists are only too willing to hand over their hard-earned for.

Please support CJ Werleman’s fight against anti-Muslim discrimination:

Monthly Support:

One-Time Contribution:

Columnist for Middle East Eye. Host of Channel The Rage. Activist against Islamophobia. Read more about CJ here: