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“Muslim Zionist” Abdul Hadi Palazzi Now Hindu?

Palazzi

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 
http://aryasamajroma.blogspot.it/

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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  • Ilisha

    I would like to point out that I don’t see any links to CESNUR in the article here on LW. I checked, but if anyone sees such a link, let me know and I’ll remove it.

    CESNUR came up because I was being relentlessly hounded in comments on HP for evidence to substantiate the claims in this cross posted article. I provided links to Shanker’s Italian language blog, which ties back to the Arya Samaj main page and contains his video, and to his Facebook page, which features all sorts of photos of Shanker in clothing, and in various context, that suggest he is now a Hindu. No matter what I linked to, the demands for more were unrelenting.

    In the heat of debate, while trying to respond to unreasonable demands, I pasted the link to CESNUR on HP. I didn’t endorse the site. Of course, this was then picked up as some sort of proof of my nefarious affiliations and agenda.

    Let’s just say my opponent was not interested in fair play.

    I think there is a difference between a link in an article, and a link in a comment–and a comment on a different forum no less. If anyone wants to see the beating I was taking, head on over to HP and read the full debate.

  • Ilisha

    “The point of the article is not that he HAS become Hindu…”

    Right, I don’t know what to make of the twists and turns in this story. For all we know, now he identifies as a Muslim Zionist Hindu. He seems to have some novel ideas.

    I found it interesting that a detractor on HP implied we “accused” him of converting to Hinduism. As I pointed out to him, converting to Hinduism is not a crime. I have no problem with a Muslim (or anyone else) converting to Hinduism, if he or she would like to do so.

  • 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.

  • Ilisha

    The best site ever about Palazzi is unfortunately defunct, but it can still be accessed on the Way Back archives:

    The Imam who cursed The Pope and Kofi Annan
    The incredible adventures of Maulana Shaykh Abdul Hadi Massimo Palazzi

    Abdul Hadi Palazzi, or a tale of Fatwas, Mormons, ufologists, secret services, the Supreme Solomonic Order of the Princes of Shekal, coups in Somalia, nuns making websites for neo-Pagans, an unsolved murder, New Age healers, a “God intoxicated” Communist dictator, Adam’s somersaults, an African tyrant, terrorists and thirty pretty Ukrainian girls…

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040716233056/http://wwww.ifrance.com/amipalazzi/gb/palazzi01_gb.htm

  • Ilisha

    The more I look into this, the more it appears he may move in and out of these two identities. Links to his old organizations are broken:

    Root & Branch Association, Ltd
    http://www.rb.org.il/

    THE ITALIAN MUSLIM ASSOCIATION
    http://www.amislam.com/

    But he has a Facebook page as Palazzi too, featuring Irshad Manji and Noni Darwish. It isn’t very active though, it seems:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Abdul-Hadi-Palazzi/139040269447189

    His Shanker Facebook page has plenty of images of himself in Hindu clothing and settings, and he appears to post there regularly.

    The main Arya Samaj site:
    http://www.aryasamaj.com/links/links.htm

    Does link to the blog attributed to Shanker, which includes the same video posted here:
    http://aryasamajroma.blogspot.com/

    Maybe the error is in thinking the two identities are mutually exclusive? Just because he took on this new identity doesn’t necessarily mean he shed the old one.

    I’m fascinated by this character, who is looking even more shady than I originally thought, and that was a pretty high benchmark.

  • Ilisha

    Your gloating is unbecoming. We published this story, framed this as a question, with the following statements:

    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?…So far the story of Palazzi’s conversion to Hinduism cannot yet be confirmed in the major English language media.

    That’s true. We haven’t lied, and when we got new information, we updated it immediately.

  • Ilisha

    Ah, the plot thickens. Yes, I posted an update.

    Thanks, JSB.

  • 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZEAGIqf87tY#!.

    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?

  • Ilisha

    What site? Kelebek Blog?

  • 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.

  • Ilisha

    A detractor at HP was expressing some doubt that Palazzi really converted to Hinduism, and I found this during my research:

    http://www.facebook.com/shankar.satyaprakashnath.baba

    Quite interesting viewing. It certainly seems to bolster the case for his conversion. I’ve added an update to the article.

  • Sultan

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

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