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“Muslim Zionist” Abdul Hadi Palazzi Now Hindu?


Massimo Palazzi (with the white beard) converts to Hinduism

by Ilisha & Garibaldi

Self-proclaimed Muslim Zionist and looniverse pet “Sheikh” Adbul Hadi Palazzi has always struck us as a bit of a kook and a charlatan. Many have expressed their suspicion that his conversion had more to do with the politics of Islamophobia than it did with a sincere religious awakening.

The question that always arose was how did Palazzi become, all of a sudden, a “scholar” of Islam immediately after his conversion?* Islamic scholarship, just like any attempt to achieve a level of scholarship in other religious traditions such as Judaism or Christianity takes many years of devotion and rigorous study, a path that has been described as intellectually and spiritually exhaustive. It is indeed a symptom of our age that many self-proclaimed scholars and “experts” are appearing seemingly out of the blue with no academic or religious training/credentials! This is compounded by the fact that when such self-proclaimed scholars do emerge they tend to expose themselves by aligning with extremists and expressing sympathy and agreement for radical projects.

Last month, Italian language sources reported the news that Palazzi has apparently embraced Hinduism, and is now part of the Hindu reformist movement, Arya Samaj.

Is this a sincere conversion? Is Palazzi going to propagate some form of Hindu Zionism now? Perhaps this is another Palazzi publicity stunt and he will later claim that he is only treading the path of religious relativism and trying to cloak himself in popular post-modernist new-age interpretations of the schools of thought of Sufi giants Ibn Arabi and Rumi?

In either case the Hindu “reformist” formerly known as “Sheikh” Palazzi is not the only “Muslim Zionist” who has been exposed as a fraud.  Last summer, fellow “Muslim Zionist” Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury was exposed as a swindler and all-round kook:

Brenda West, a self-described “Jewish woman and patriotic American who became very involved in counter-jihad work after 9/11,” told JTA that “subsequent research, easily available to anyone who bothered to do a little bit of reading, showed that he was a total fraud with criminal ties. He had swindled not just two ardent Jewish supporters but everyone in the Zionist and counter-jihad movement who believed in him.”

So far the story of Palazzi’s conversion to Hinduism cannot yet be confirmed in the major English language media. A similar Italian language article can be found here. Religious conversion is a matter of individual conscience and we support anyone’s right to embrace whatever religion or ideology they so desire. Also, while a further article exploring the place of “Muslim Zionism” in relation to the politics of Islamophobia is necessary it must be stated that as counter-intuitive as it seems to most it is possible for one to be a Muslim and a Zionist, again a matter of conscience. However, when such an embrace of Zionism comes at the expense of another people (in this case the dispossession and occupation of Palestinian land) coupled with a membership in the Islamophobia Movement it strikes us as a glaring red flag.

This following was translated from Italian to English by Google Translate.

Maximum Abdul Hadi Palazzi the Moderate Muslim Satyaprakash Shankar becomes a Hindu 

by Miguel Martinez, Kelebek Blog

Someone will remember our old friend Massimo Palazzi, an ex-Mormon Roman until recently called himself Dr. Prof Mawlana Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi Maximum Abu Omar al-Shafi’i , Grand Chancellor and Grand Preceptor for Italian language of the Supreme Order of Solomon of Principles of Shekal.

Maximum Abdul Hadi Palazzi has even invested in an unlikely knightly honor a small journalist, because he had written an article against crazy myself.

Maximum Abdul Hadi Palazzi was certainly the most unique of all the Muslim Moderates.

In this role, he became consultant of ‘ Intelligence Summit , and over half the world explaining how the Qur’an [allegedly] affirms the divine right of the State of Israel . He also went to Hebron to express their solidarity with the most extremist settlers.

A study by the Rand Corporation, Building Moderate Muslim Networks , dedicated explicitly to look for “Potential Partners and Allies” for the “U.S. Grand Strategy,” cites as examples for Italy (on page 100) Souad Sbai and Massimo Palazzi.

In 2003, Palazzi was co-speaker at a conference neocon held at the University of Messina, together with Michael Arthur Ledeen (American Enterprise Institute), Daniel Pipes (Middle East Forum) and Flame Nirenstein .

Not any more.

Maximum Abdul Palazzi has changed yet again, and today is Satya Prakash Shankar Baba , new convert to Hinduism , or rather all’Arya Samaj, a modernist movement inside Hinduism.

On the site of the ‘ Arya Samaj , we read:

“April 7, 2011, dr. Mahendera Swaroop, president of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha Nederland, has opened a new Arya Samaj in Rome, Italy. Every Sunday in Rome, the seat of the Vatican and the Pope, are held Havan and Satsang. In March 2011, he also played a Shudhi Sanskaar [ conversion ceremony ] at the Arya Samaj temple in The Hague, for Mr. Massimo Palazi [sic] and Mrs. Maria Luisa Sales, (both of Rome, Italy). After the Shudhi, respectively received the names of Satya Prakash and Aditi Devi “.

Today, the ex-Muslim Moderate, as can be seen by taking a look on Google, looks like this: [1]

Satyaprakash Shankar 
President of 
the Italy section Arya Samaj, 
founded by Swami in Inai Dayanad Saraswati 
Arya Samaj Italy Rome 
Body Worship Hindu – Vedic Ritual-air

Just a year after his conversion, Massimo Palazzi already dedicated to teach. In this video we see the ex-secretary of the Association of Italian Muslims (and friend of Mario Scaramella and other strange characters), while explaining the world as it reads the Sandhya to Brahma:

Read the rest here.

*Update: Palazzi’s story about being born to a Catholic convert to Islam and a Muslim mother of Syrian descent sounds plausible whereas he seems to have constructed an incredible story about his credentials (via. Wikipedia, h/t: JSB):

Palazzi was born in Rome, Italy to an Italian Catholic father who converted to Islam and a Muslim mother of Syrian descent…Palazzi learned at home teaching of Sufism and then studied the philosophy of Avicenna and Averroes at university in Rome before going to Al Azhar University in Cairo to prepare to receive his theological degree. In Cairo he received his “ijaza” (authorization to teach Islam) from Shaykh Ismail al-Khalwati and Sheikh Husayn al-Khalwati, and holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of former Saudi Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Ibn Baz.

In 1987 Palazzi became an Imam and Sheikh, receiving the equivalent of a doctorate in Islamic theology from representative of Chief Mufti of Saudi Arabia.”

Shanker Nath Baba

Shanker Nath Baba

Update 2: Former Muslim Zionist Sheikh Adbul Hadi Palazzi, Shankar Nath Baba, aka, Satya Prakash Shankar, now has a Facebook page, which appears to further bolster the case that he has indeed converted to Hinduism. It can be viewed here.

Update 3: Right on the heels of discovering a blog and Facebook page that seem to confirm Palazzi’s conversion to Hinduism (see Update 2), Loonwatcher Just Stopping By has found a video that seems to indicate exactly the opposite. Starting at about minute 18, there is a a back screen showing the date of the event being filmed as March 2012, and the place card for the character in question identified him as Sheikh Palazzi: (H/T: Just Stopping By)

Clearly the confusion surrounding whether or not Palazzi has converted to Hinduism has not been cleared up, mostly due to his own actions and the preponderance of contradictory information. The question we originally asked “‘Muslim Zionist Abdul Hadi Palazzi now Hindu?” still stands.

What can’t be denied however and what critics of our article still won’t engage with are the facts regarding Palazzi’s dubious and contradictory claims to “Islamic scholarship,” his association with extremist settlers in Hebron and his participation with noted Islamophobes at the “Intelligence Summit.”

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  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    The point of the article is not that he HAS become Hindu, but that the question is there per the facts from the official Arya Samaj website, some non-English
    media reports and Palazzi’s own actions.


As far as CESNUR goes I have now found two links that argue some researchers (including the founder) there were arguably tied to neo-Fascists such as the very anti-Muslim Northern League and national alliance. Ironically enough one of the critical articles is by Miguel
    Martinez of the Kelebekler blog that we linked above who reported on “Sheikh” Palazzi’s conversion. A contact in Italy has also told me that they are nearly sure that CESNUR is tied to Casa Pound.

    While researching this article we relied on the Wiki entry regarding CESNUR which only indicated criticism related to academics disputing their work on different
    sects, granted we could and should have done more digging. But this doesn’t in any way impact raising the question of whether he has converted and seems like a desperate attempt to shift attention from the main points of the article.


Lastly, what is important is that Palazzi’s fantastical claim about his “grand sheikh” status and receiving Islamic studies degrees through decree are bogus, and what is also undeniable is that he is a kooky loon as he cozies up with Islamophobes and is quite taken by extremist Zionist settlers such as the violent Hebron settlers who he met with to show support and solidarity.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    @Ilisha: I agree that evidence would be helpful. I have looked through some of the HP comments and I really can’t blame you for not finding them to actually support a claim that Palazzi did not convert. As you say, there is little evidence given to support those claims.

    That said, I found a video that does at least call the conversion into question. See here:!.

    Early (say 1:39 as an example) we see a name placard calling him Sheikh Palazzi. Later (say 18:47) we see the screen behind him giving the date of the event as March 2012, a year after his claimed conversion. I don’t know if he converted back or if the 2011 event was some other ceremony that was mislabeled as a conversion. However, at the very least, there seems to be evidence that he may not have converted. Perhaps you can update the article to reflect the new information?

  • Abu Faris

    The Italian site you link to belongs to an Italian Catholic traditionalist and far Right organisation with known links to the Italian neo-fascist movement.

  • Sultan

    DrM, why don’t you update your blog, I miss your takedown of the charlatans and hypocrites

  • Géji


    Nice post trying, but how is’t “Zionism” claim nationalism it never had?

  • Just Stopping By


    “I as an ordinary Muslim (as I believe most Muslims are ) that only wishes for just a tiny kind of Jewish understanding and ‘agreement’ concerning, Palestine.”

    Agreed. And I also hope for just a tiny kind of Muslim understanding and “agreement” concerning Israel. Though, to be fair, there are degrees of understanding in both directions, and I would not want to slight those of either group who have worked to understand the other.

    “make me understand what “Zionism” represent?”

    I will do my best. I see it first as no more than one of many forms of nationalism, such as Arab nationalism, Kurdish nationalism, Palestinian nationalism, Druze nationalism, or Egyptian nationalism. Some of these nationalist movements deal primarily with one country, some stretch across countries, and some effectively deal with areas within one or more countries. Some deal mainly with an ethnicity or religion, while others do not.

    Each nationalistic movement has its good and bad sides. For Zionism, a lot of the bad has been, and often still is, not recognizing that Palestinians are also a people with their own rights and legitimate aspirations; the same is true for Palestinian nationalism via-a-vis Jewish nationalism.

    If you want to ask what makes Zionism different than other nationalist movements, I think first that each movement has its own unique features. But, Zionism does stick out in some ways. First, there is the word itself that lets one say “I am anti-Zionist” much more freely than one might say “I am anti-Israeli” or “I am anti-Palestinian.”

    Second, Zionism involved people moving to a land that they personally had not lived in but where their ancestors lived. Notably, as time goes by, that is also becoming part of Palestinian nationalism for the newer generations of refugees. This had interesting features. Zionists point out that they never “stole” or could have stolen any land before 1947, because they were the minority and the governments, whether Ottoman or British, did not support the dispossession of the Palestinians. All the land they settled in was either purchased or freely available to squatters. Anti-Zionists argue that by coming to the area, the Jews changed the balance of its demographic make-up in a way that those coming from what are now nearby states like Jordan did not. (There was obviously a lot of migration in the area.) The Zionist position is that it would be unfair to single out one group of migrants, just as it would be unfair today to demonize Muslims migrating to what we call “the West.”

    Third, because Christianity and Islam followed Judaism in their principal religious writings, we find in those religions writings material that can be used either to support good relations with Jews or to support their persecution, depending on who is interpreting those writings. Historically, there have been periods of both, though Jews have typically fared better in Muslim lands until post World War II. The other two Abrahamic religions have countries that will argue for and support their coreligionists when necessary, and many Zionists have argued that a balance is needed.

    Fourth, there is a strong religious streak within Zionism, though of course that exists in varying degrees within many other nationalist as well.

    These are generally the historic views. Back then Zionism included potential goals that covered both what we would now call a one-state and a two-state solution. Famously, the leader of right-wing Zionism called for a state in which when the Prime Minister was a Jew, the deputy would be Arab, and when the Prime Minister was Arab, the deputy would be a Jew.

    In 1947, we had the UN partition plan, which the Zionists supported against the alternative of risking that the Arabs would go through with their publicly stated plans to create a state from which they would ethnically cleanse all Jews who arrived since “the Zionist invasion” decades earlier. Ultimately, the Arabs rejected the plan, and there was a war in which 80-90% of the Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from what became Israel and 100% of the Jews (including the anti-Zionist religious Jews whose families predated the “Zionist invasion”) were ethnically cleansed from what became the West Bank and Gaza. Following that, over 90% of Jews left the other Arab and Muslim states, some out of fear but voluntarily, some due to government or social pressure, and some due to direct expulsion orders, creating another mass ethnic cleansing, and perhaps hardening the views on the different sides about the benefits of a Jewish state.

    Today, Zionism focuses more on the two-state solution, though various one-state plans have varying degrees of support, with the largest concern being that a one-state solution could easily lead to a civil war (see, for example, Lebanon) with great bloodshed all around, and with the neighboring states intervening, potentially leading to even greater massacres and ethnic cleansing.

    Modern Zionism also struggles with how to deal with the non-Jewish minority. Early Zionist writings range the gamut from suggesting ethnic cleansing to working to be an example of how to treat a minority in the best way possible with full equality in law and practice. Today, the situation is a bit of a mess, with separate schools and religious institutions within Israel, with the obvious degree of racism among various people, but also with affirmative action programs to support Palestinian Arabs economically at the expense of the majority. The best of Zionism is to avoid the ethnic cleansing that was seen in 1948/9 in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and to create a state where the minority has full rights; the worst goes from discrimination to plans of expulsion for the minority. Again, that is no different than what we see in most nationalist movements or in the sectarian bombings and violence in certain countries.

    I could go on, but I think you get the general idea. I hope this was helpful.

  • Géji

    @Just Stopping by,

    “I hope that we do get closer and closer to understanding and agreement”

    Never said the contrary, and I as an ordinary Muslim (as I believe most Muslims are ) that only wishes for just a tiny kind of Jewish understanding and ‘agreement’ concerning, Palestine, its a very good start indeed for stained relations. But as genuine stater, or should I say a continuation of understandings and agreements based on your position, make me understand what “Zionism” represent?

  • Garibaldi


    No worries, comment forums have there drawbacks in that way.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Mohammed al-Arabi:

    Thanks for the link to that article. I too found it illuminating, because there are also pieces going the other way. As usual, the true story has lots of nuance, and I am glad that you provided information that adds to my knowledge so that I don’t just accept the version I had seen before as telling the complete story. Thanks again.

  • Mohammed al-Arabi

    @JSB: regarding your comment on the Druze community in Israel, I found this to be somewhat illuminating on the actual situation playing out on the ground:

  • Just Stopping By

    @Garibaldi: “of course I am not saying Palestinians haven’t perpetrated any violence.”

    Okay. I misunderstood you when you said the “monopoly on violence that exists on the Israeli side,” thinking that meant that all the violence existed on one side. I apologize for thinking that by “monopoly” you meant “all” rather than something like “more” or “most”.

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  • Garibaldi

    @JSB, by monopoly on violence I am referring to Israel being a military super-power, F-16’s, cluster bombs, phosphorous, the whole nine yards. I don’t think that is a generalization.

    I don’t think it’s helpful necessarily but if we ask who has perpetrated more violence than the other then the record will show Israel has, of course I am not saying Palestinians haven’t perpetrated any violence.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Garibaldi says, “monopoly on violence that exists on the Israeli side” and “we always strive and will continue to strive to avoid … generalization.”

    Umm, good luck in your continued striving to avoid generalization. 😉

    “Jewish support for historical Palestinian rights is in my opinion the ethical thing to do. … ‘Muslim Zionism’ on the other hand, it seems clear to me is generally questionable from an ethical, historical and political standpoint.” I give you credit for presenting your views openly and clearly. I like to think that each side can ethically support both their own goals and those of the other. We may just have to disagree.

  • Garibaldi


    Yes, I think we’ll have to disagree on the cutting both ways bit.

    The question of what “Muslim support” (Zionism?) for Israel means would have to be asked and investigated. Does it mean supporting Settlements? Does it mean Nakba Denial? Does it mean alliances with extremist Zionist groups or alliances with hostile Israeli politicians? Does it mean a complete rejection for a “right of return?” Does it mean support for apartheid? Does it mean support for aggressive Israeli bombing and raiding campaigns? Does it mean support for Islamophobic narratives? What does it mean to be a “Muslim Zionist” in the West? A lot of the prominent individuals in this club are tied to either Neo-Cons and or the Islamophobia Movement. All the central points in these questions have been the over-arching, intertwined and most significant aspect of the general “Muslim Zionist” narrative as we have encountered it.

    Implicit in your comment is also a false equivalency between occupier, oppressor and occupied, oppressed. Jewish support for historical Palestinian rights is in my opinion the ethical thing to do. Now I am foremost amongst those who would condemn any of the crazies who would try to co-opt the Palestinian issue for their own bigoted ends.

    “Muslim Zionism” on the other hand, it seems clear to me is generally questionable from an ethical, historical and political standpoint as well as vis a vis the lopsided power dynamic and monopoly on violence that exists on the Israeli side.

    I do agree however regarding “demonizing” and “generalizing” any group, as we always strive and will continue to strive to avoid demonization and generalization.

    Now that I am thinking of it I may consider making this part of a broader series regarding Zionist trends within the Islamophobia movement.

  • Just Stopping By


    I do think it cuts both ways, but we may just disagree on that. In fact, I would argue that Muslim support for Israel and Jewish support for Palestine can highlight that no one should make generalizations about members of either group. However, as I am pretty sure we agree, supporting one group need not and should not mean demonizing the other, and those of any religio-political persuasion who demonize others are problematic.

    As for the Druze, I did say that it would require that one “expand the category a bit.” My understanding is that the Druze consider themselves a separate religion but with roots in Islam. Of course, there is sometimes a blurry line between a new religion and a sect of an older religion, hence why we could both have read different points on the matter. Still, the fact that many Israeli Druze are pro-Zionist and many non-Israeli Druze in the region are anti-Zionist has, to the best o my understanding, meant that that issue has not led to the type of stereotyping one sees of Muslims and Jews in the region, at least with regard to that issue.

  • Garibaldi

    I’m also not clear if the Druze actually consider themselves to be Muslims, as I have read and heard different points on the matter.

  • Garibaldi


    As far as it cutting both ways, I’m not sure it does. The Bedouin tribes have always been for hire and there is a power dynamic there that has co-opted them to collaborate with the state.

    Either way I may write a brief overview on Druze and Bedouin relations with and to Zionism, but the focus of the article will be on the trend that aids Western Islamophobia.

  • DrM, its true. I suspected him since i learnt of his “credentials”. But now, sorry to say, he will milk lots of dollars & euros from devout Hindus, because “swamis” is a luxurious business with no dearth of followers. Apologies to my Hindu brethren. As for as i know, there is no conversion to Hinduism, one has to born in a Hindu family, if not, to which “caste” the “convert” belongs.

  • Just Stopping By

    @Géji: I hope that we do get closer and closer to understanding and agreement.

    @Garibaldi: I think that would be a fascinating article. It’s an interesting phenomenon that cuts both ways, with some Muslim Zionists taking positions that may aid Islamophobia, while others (notably those in Israel such as the Bedouin and even more so if you expand the category a bit to include Druze Zionists) have created a lot of positive feelings toward their communities. And then there are those like Irshad Manji who appear to try to create a “Good Muslim / Bad Muslim” dichotomy of some form. I am guessing there may be areas where we disagree, but I am looking forward to the article.

  • Géji

    just Stopping By,

    “Akin to a Jewish supporter of a fully independent state of Palestine, perhaps?”

    Fully! its the word by all means its headed towards, that’s the word I get, a very good set in understanding began.

  • Garibaldi

    @Sir David,

    As would I!


    I plan to do an article on the phenomenon of Muslim Zionism in relation to the politics of the Islamophobia Movement in the near future.

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