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The gay mafia is after Jack Hakimian. And the head of North Miami's Impact Miami church has found the batshit craziest way to let the world know about it.
Hakimian has been in the news since this summer for agitating against a proposed strip club in his neighborhood — a fight undermined, in many eyes, by his virulently anti-gay sermons. His homophobia has stirred fights with openly gay North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin and Miami-Dade schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
But now, the pastor says, the gays have gone too far. North Miami's openly gay former mayor, Kevin Burns, has engaged in "mafia-style coercion" to prevent Hakimian's church from hosting a gospel luncheon at a local café, he claims. And to make his point, Hakimian has made a nine-minute YouTube video soundtracked by Public Enemy.
"I think anyone who has these conservative views about marriage has the potential of being targeted," Hakimian tells Riptide. "I don't think it's specifically against me, but I think it's against my ideology."
Burns has a different take on that claim. "It's just him reaching for a conspiracy theory," he says. "I have no influence over the business owners in that community."
Hakimian's troubles began after he allied himself with WPBT, the PBS affiliate headquartered in North Miami, to fight the strip club. That alliance drew strong criticism from Galvin and Carvalho, who worked to prevent Hakimian from teaching Sunday school at North Miami Senior High.
Now, Hakimian says Burns has targeted him by persuading the owners of the Moca Café to cancel a gospel lunch at the eatery. "The manager referenced the pressure he was getting from Kevin Burns and [building] owner Clark Reynolds, who are both openly gay activists," Hakimian claims. (Neither Reynolds nor Moca Café's managers immediately returned Riptide's calls.)
So the pastor sent his flock a subtle, thoughtful email titled "Former Homosexual Mayor Attacks North Miami Church!" — linking it to the video. The missive asks, "Can these homosexual leaders be trusted, or will they continue to bully if unchecked?"
While Hakimian rails, Burns just laughs. He says it's most likely a plot on Pastor Jack's part to get attention.
"If I were behind it, I'd be front and center to say I'm behind it," Burns says.