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In the wake of the Lindt Cafe atrocity: questions which demand answers

By Mike Jeffreys 18 December 2014 26

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A woman I know called me yesterday morning in great distress.

Even on the phone it was obvious she was shaking and near to tears.

She had known Tori Johnson since he was four years old and now he was dead, killed by Man Haron Monis at the Lindt Café.

I’d spent the previous night covering the siege on my program for Fairfax Radio, crossing to reporters on the scene and taking calls from listeners.

One of those reporters was Leonie Ryan who had already learned that the hostage taker was well known to police.

Now we all know who he was but at the time it was requested of the media by police not to make it public.

In a powerful conversation on the air with Leonie last night, she and I discussed the aftermath of this atrocity and asked the question so many – including the Prime Minister – are asking: How is it this man was free to walk the streets with his history and the charges against him?

Leonie told me that at one of his court appearances which she covered, outside in the street she just had to walk away from him.

The picture that emerged was of some kind of vile clown – a serial pest shouting, demanding,  exploiting the freedoms this country offers in his mad drive for attention.

Lawyer Manny Conditsis who had previously represented Monis told the ABC “His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.”

So – he was a deluded fanatic, but as to his “ideology” there has been a great deal of ducking and weaving.
He’s been described as a “hate sheikh” and a “fake sheikh”.

Overwhelmingly Islamic leaders have now condemned his actions and made the point emphatically that he was “a self appointed cleric”.

But how is it that he was able to continue to be that for so many years?

I spoke to Dr. Rodger Shanahan the author of Clans, Parties and Clerics: the Shi’a of Lebanon.

Dr Shanahan is a former army officer with MA’s in International Relations and Middle East Studies from the ANU and a PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies from the University of Sydney.

He told me that Monis was really just “dressing up as a cleric”.

I made the point that if this criminal had been dressing up as a Catholic Priest for advantage, at the very least when word got back (and how could it not if someone pretending to be a priest had been in the news as much as Monis) the Church hierarchy would ask him to cease and desist.

In essence the answer is that, depending on the circumstances, who’s a cleric and who’s not can be a very loose arrangement.

But in the case of Monis, even though it seems to have been well known that he was a “fake sheikh” and a “hate sheikh” no one in authority seems to have called him on it: no one in the senior ranks of the Islamic community and no one in Australian courts.

Why? Political Correctness? Let’s not make a difficult situation worse? A left leaning judiciary prepared to bend over backwards to make allowances for the refugee from a strife torn land?

We now know that he was a criminal who misappropriated $200,000 of his client’s money from a travel business.

We have known for years that at the very least he was a particularly nasty individual, from the grossly offensive letters he sent to the families of dead diggers.

He was facing proceedings for more than forty sex offences and most recently on bail after being accused of colluding with his girlfriend to murder his ex-wife in a particularly brutal killing.

After Magistrate Daryl Pearce granted bail “as a simple matter of fairness”, saying that Monis and his girlfriend were not a threat to the public, his lawyer Conditsis said outside the court the magistrate had “made a courageous decision”.

Indeed.

Former New South Wales DPP Nicholas Cowdery has been quite clear that presumption of innocence is paramount and that it’s not possible to say in advance what criminal act someone might commit.

But Magistrate Pearce apparently felt able to predict that Monis would not be a threat to the public after he freed him from his courtroom despite his history and the charges against him.

It’s in the nature of court proceedings that they have a very narrow focus, but who is to consider the bigger picture and place greater emphasis on the potential impact of an individual’s actions on the community at large?

In this case obviously not Islamic community leaders and apparently not Australian courts, so who then?

During the course of my conversation with Dr Shanahan he referred to Musa Cerantonio.

Cerantonio was recently in the news for assuring potential ISIS fighters that “You can go to paradise even if you are killed by a woman” – this in reference to Kurdish female fighters.

Cerantonio is variously described as a “Muslim Preacher” and a “fake sheikh”.

He was deported from the Phillippines in July and brought back to Australia.

This is in contrast to the situation with Monis where Iran wanted him back to face criminal charges.

But the end result has been that we ended up with both of them here.

Unlike Monis, Cerantonio is said to be under surveillance and police say that although his postings are “offensive” they have not breached Australian law.

Not even 18C?

So even more questions: how many Cerantonios do we have in this country and what will be their next moves, particularly if they have no fear of death (even if killed by a woman) and they are inspired by the media coverage and public shock and reaction generally to what Monis has done?

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
In the wake of the Lindt Cafe atrocity: questions which demand answers
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justin heywood 9:05 pm 20 Dec 14

watto23 said :

This guy… he isn’t even a sunni, which is a big thing, trust me,….

Well actually he most definitely WAS Sunni, as two minutes on google would have told you.

But don’t let me stop you giving us your expert view.

dungfungus 11:01 am 20 Dec 14

Algernon said :

Dungfungus, I reckon I can give you some examples to your question of …how Catholics have hurt more people in Australia than Muslims have?” Not specifically Catholic, mind you, but more under the generic ‘Christian’ banner, much as you have used the generic ‘Muslim’ banner.

The whites who came here in 1788 or whenever, and who were encouraged to come her in great numbers until the end of the White Australia Policy, were of predominantly Christian background – Protestants, Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and, probably, the odd Calathumpian or two. Generally, they all got along pretty well with each other, but there were exceptions.

Christians against Christians left 27 dead at the Eureka Stockade (1854); Christians against Chinese at Lambing Flats, near Young left 30-40 Chinese dead and hundreds wounded, some scalped (1861); Christians against southern European Christians, mostly Italian Catholics in Kalgoorlie in 1934 left six dead.

Then there’s the Christians against the Aborigines. I could provide you with a huge list, but in NSW alone between 1816 and 1842 around 170 Aborigines – men, women and children – were massacred, some by being driven off cliffs. And that’s only the recorded events in NSW. The situation was as bad or worse in other States and Territories.

Oh, and by the way, those people who reckon you wear a tinfoil hat are WRONG! You don’t need one.

You said “Catholics” but now you are extending that group to include Protestants et al. Your argument is very weak.
The Eureka Stockade was fought between Colonialist soldiers and rebel miners (their leader was from Ireland as were a lot of the rebels). Their flag was their own. It was nothing to do with religion.
None of the other events you have cited were about religion and they were all localised.
And when you say “the whites that came here in 1788…” you should check your sources because there were black Africans amongst them.
How you can confuse these issues with the goal of ISIS to spread their doctrine globally?

Southmouth 9:41 am 20 Dec 14

Algernon said :

Dungfungus, I reckon I can give you some examples to your question of …how Catholics have hurt more people in Australia than Muslims have?” Not specifically Catholic, mind you, but more under the generic ‘Christian’ banner, much as you have used the generic ‘Muslim’ banner.

The whites who came here in 1788 or whenever, and who were encouraged to come her in great numbers until the end of the White Australia Policy, were of predominantly Christian background – Protestants, Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and, probably, the odd Calathumpian or two. Generally, they all got along pretty well with each other, but there were exceptions.

Christians against Christians left 27 dead at the Eureka Stockade (1854); Christians against Chinese at Lambing Flats, near Young left 30-40 Chinese dead and hundreds wounded, some scalped (1861); Christians against southern European Christians, mostly Italian Catholics in Kalgoorlie in 1934 left six dead.

Then there’s the Christians against the Aborigines. I could provide you with a huge list, but in NSW alone between 1816 and 1842 around 170 Aborigines – men, women and children – were massacred, some by being driven off cliffs. And that’s only the recorded events in NSW. The situation was as bad or worse in other States and Territories.

Oh, and by the way, those people who reckon you wear a tinfoil hat are WRONG! You don’t need one.

Sooner or later, when ever a Muslim does something that gets the attention of this blog, someone turns it into a Christian bashing opportunity. How about giving a genuine example of when practising Christians have killed people BECAUSE they were not christians. The examples you gave have various motivations, none of them religious. Poor attempt.

dungfungus 8:08 am 20 Dec 14

JC said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

It is now a lot harder to describe any of these Islamist attackers as “lone wolves” since the order went out from ISIS to attack opportunistically and on their own, without locating or joining any groups.

The ISIS style black flag (or as the ABC says, the piece of black cloth with white Arabic symbols of no meaning) was a dead giveaway wasn’t it.
Some sections of the media and indeed some posting on this thread are still apologising for the actions of this terrorist.

He was a lone wolf. Simple as that. The flag he used is not associated with terrorism. He was trying to become a matyr, so stop making him one. Please. all you are doing is spreading fear and hate. The guy was as I read elsewhere “A Lone D#ckhead”. Put his actions down to insanity, make him look like someone craving attention, stop making it look like an organised terrorist attack.

I’m not defending him, I’m not defending terrorism. But spreading fear and hate of islam, just breeds more home grown terrorists.

With the greatest respect, I think you are very naive if you think home grown terrorists will simply vanish if we stop trying to make Islamsts accountable for the atrocities they commit.
And I am not “spreading fear and hate” – I am simply presenting the facts. How you and others want to interpret them is up to you.

You are not presenting facts, you are presenting your own opinion. Fair enough of course, but doesn’t make it the facts. Just like this crazy man was presenting his own opinion too, in a manner of course that is/not accepted by society, as presented by the laws of this country. (referring of course to his letter writing campaign that was found to have broken Austrian laws)

And for what it is worth I reckon watto23 was spot on. What this guy did was not an act of terrorism, though in his own crazed way was making it to be so.

You allege the fact he had a flag associated with ISIS automatically means it was an ISIS attack,never mind of course said flag is basically a pledge to Islam. Now tell me if he had a crucifix or a Star of David and commited the same crime in the name of Catholicism or Judaism would you still be calling a terrorist attack. Of course not.

What watto was saying about people like you giving traction to other crazies is very much spot on. But treat it was it was, which was a criminal attack by a deranged individual and you don’t give traction to others to do the same.

Did he or did he not demand an ISIS flag be delivered to him at the Lindt Cafe?
Already we have 9/11 deniers it appears.

Southmouth 7:29 am 20 Dec 14

You allege the fact he had a flag associated with ISIS automatically means it was an ISIS attack,never mind of course said flag is basically a pledge to Islam. Now tell me if he had a crucifix or a Star of David and commited the same crime in the name of Catholicism or Judaism would you still be calling a terrorist attack. Of course not

The flag he had with him was not an ISIS flag. His first demand however, was the an actual ISIS flag be brought to him. He was not Sunni but this had become “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of thing, such was his hate of the west. A more correct metaphor would be: a white guy with a shaved head and a crucifix around his neck who demands to be brought a neo nazi flag. Probably the acts of a white sepremist.

Algernon 2:13 am 20 Dec 14

Dungfungus, I reckon I can give you some examples to your question of …how Catholics have hurt more people in Australia than Muslims have?” Not specifically Catholic, mind you, but more under the generic ‘Christian’ banner, much as you have used the generic ‘Muslim’ banner.

The whites who came here in 1788 or whenever, and who were encouraged to come her in great numbers until the end of the White Australia Policy, were of predominantly Christian background – Protestants, Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and, probably, the odd Calathumpian or two. Generally, they all got along pretty well with each other, but there were exceptions.

Christians against Christians left 27 dead at the Eureka Stockade (1854); Christians against Chinese at Lambing Flats, near Young left 30-40 Chinese dead and hundreds wounded, some scalped (1861); Christians against southern European Christians, mostly Italian Catholics in Kalgoorlie in 1934 left six dead.

Then there’s the Christians against the Aborigines. I could provide you with a huge list, but in NSW alone between 1816 and 1842 around 170 Aborigines – men, women and children – were massacred, some by being driven off cliffs. And that’s only the recorded events in NSW. The situation was as bad or worse in other States and Territories.

Oh, and by the way, those people who reckon you wear a tinfoil hat are WRONG! You don’t need one.

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