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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
Southmouth 11:13 am 19 Dec 14

It’s interesting how many of these “lone wolf” “deranged lunatics” have a history of public protests arm in arm with the wider Muslim community. You would expect that this alone would get you on a watch list.

watto23 10:48 am 19 Dec 14

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

farout said :

Which is why we need something like this:
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-3-year-assessment-of-asylum-seekers-for-suitability-to-stay-in-australia

Because Australians born here would never commit a crime on bail either, now would they?

They don’t want to take over the world, though.

This guy wasn’t going to take over the world either. He was a shiite muslim. The prime target for Isis. He was a nutter who thought his actions most likely would lead him to the islamic version of heaven.

There are 72 versions of islam and most of the terrorism is coming from one of those. Most of the victims are other muslims.

watto23 10:39 am 19 Dec 14

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.

watto23 10:36 am 19 Dec 14

farout said :

watto23 said :

farout said :

Which is why we need something like this:
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-3-year-assessment-of-asylum-seekers-for-suitability-to-stay-in-australia

Because Australians born here would never commit a crime on bail either, now would they?

Was the person who committed this crime an “Australian born here”?

He claimed political asylum here, drew Centrelink benefits and lived at the taxpayer’s cost. Isn’t it reasonable to expect that people who we extend a hand to are expected to behave accordingly? Or should we be helping those who make a genuine effort to integrate into our society and culture?

And people like yourself are giving the terrorists what they want. You are generating dislike or hatred towards muslims. So more and more muslims will join their cause. This guy came here decades ago, he isn’t even a sunni, which is a big thing trust me, as ISIS terrorist will kill a shiite as quickly as a westerner.

This guy came here decades ago. He may have been a completely sane and rational man then, he got his citizenship over a decade ago. The thing is all this anti muslim rhetoric by conservatives is giving the terrorists what they want. However writing the guy of as a lone wolf, as a twisted psychopath as someone with no moral compass who acted alone is the correct message to send. Otherwise you are making him a matyr which is what he wanted. He most likely knew he was going to die in that siege and was prepared to die.

Finally what is integration into society? It seems its integration into a society someone else wants. most of the muslim people in Australia are integrated into our society and pay taxes like the rest of us. So please tell me what is this Australian way of life they have to integrate into? Then are you going to tell the buddhists to do the same. Is it because the catholic community really want all Australians to be Catholic? They might not be killing people but they’ve hurt more people in Australia than muslims have.

dungfungus 10:52 pm 18 Dec 14

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.

farout 10:20 pm 18 Dec 14

watto23 said :

farout said :

Which is why we need something like this:
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-3-year-assessment-of-asylum-seekers-for-suitability-to-stay-in-australia

Because Australians born here would never commit a crime on bail either, now would they?

Was the person who committed this crime an “Australian born here”?

He claimed political asylum here, drew Centrelink benefits and lived at the taxpayer’s cost. Isn’t it reasonable to expect that people who we extend a hand to are expected to behave accordingly? Or should we be helping those who make a genuine effort to integrate into our society and culture?

dungfungus 7:48 pm 18 Dec 14

watto23 said :

So how do we know that the islamic community had not told him to stop? By their accounts they had even asked for authorities to keep him locked up. By the sounds of it he was not welcome at any mosque in Australia. I hear the argument that the islamic community needs to do more, but they have no more power over members of the public than anyone else. The church can distance itself from people but they can still say they worship god and are a christian and commit hate related crime as well. Just like political parties can expel members also, but after the fact they will still be related back to the political party no matter what they try to do.

I don’t think we need to headhunt for whoever failed the community and let this man out, but I’d be interested to know if the islamic community really did recommend further action against this man. Because if they did it says far more about our system and may keep quiet those who are quick to blame islam rather than the individual and the system. We can look at recent events and say this really has nothing to do with islam as several high profile murders have been because the offender was out on bail.

We also need to stop making policies designed to win elections and big note our security. Its quite clear we could stop immigration altogether and still have terrorism here. Policies need to focus on those who have done wrong in the past or have shown intent to do wrong in the future and if they can’t be locked up, why not treat them much like paedophiles who have numerous conditions on release into society.

“Headhunt” wasn’t a good word choice.

dungfungus 7:47 pm 18 Dec 14

watto23 said :

farout said :

Which is why we need something like this:
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-3-year-assessment-of-asylum-seekers-for-suitability-to-stay-in-australia

Because Australians born here would never commit a crime on bail either, now would they?

They don’t want to take over the world, though.

dungfungus 7:45 pm 18 Dec 14

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

The guy was a deranged lunatic with a death wish. Sadly, he decided to take the course of action he did.

All this really shows is that the courts need to be careful about the risks of certain criminals reoffending if let out on bail or paroled. For some people, being locked away from society really is the only place for them.

Is there any “official” evidence that he is a deranged lunatic?
If there was, he wouldn’t have been granted continuing bail.
I have said it before and I will say it again that what he did is normal behaviour for Islamic terrorists. The ones that behead people while being filmed, shoot school children in the face and burn teachers, slit the throats of the crew on hijacked aircraft and then fly them into buildings, run down and behead off-duty soldiers etc. etc. must be by our standards and values deranged lunatics as well. The wider Muslim community don’t seem to think so or they would rally to stop it. Makes you wonder what the ultimate agenda is doesn’t it.
Unless we round up and incarcerate the sleepers who should never have been let into this country we can expect the same sort of thing to happen. I am supportive of any moves to allow responsible citizens to carry concealed weapons also. All the crims and “deranged lunatics” have them so why not allow their targets to be armed as well?

Masquara 6:14 pm 18 Dec 14

watto23 said :

farout said :

Which is why we need something like this:
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-3-year-assessment-of-asylum-seekers-for-suitability-to-stay-in-australia

Because Australians born here would never commit a crime on bail either, now would they?

No, and you’re absolutely right, this isn’t limited to terrorist immigrants. Australian-born terrorists – regardless of bail – are heading overseas to variously behead, enslave and rape Christians.

Masquara 6:12 pm 18 Dec 14

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.

watto23 5:19 pm 18 Dec 14

farout said :

Which is why we need something like this:
https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-3-year-assessment-of-asylum-seekers-for-suitability-to-stay-in-australia

Because Australians born here would never commit a crime on bail either, now would they?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:16 pm 18 Dec 14

The guy was a deranged lunatic with a death wish. Sadly, he decided to take the course of action he did.

All this really shows is that the courts need to be careful about the risks of certain criminals reoffending if let out on bail or paroled. For some people, being locked away from society really is the only place for them.

farout 1:47 pm 18 Dec 14
watto23 1:31 pm 18 Dec 14

So how do we know that the islamic community had not told him to stop? By their accounts they had even asked for authorities to keep him locked up. By the sounds of it he was not welcome at any mosque in Australia. I hear the argument that the islamic community needs to do more, but they have no more power over members of the public than anyone else. The church can distance itself from people but they can still say they worship god and are a christian and commit hate related crime as well. Just like political parties can expel members also, but after the fact they will still be related back to the political party no matter what they try to do.

I don’t think we need to headhunt for whoever failed the community and let this man out, but I’d be interested to know if the islamic community really did recommend further action against this man. Because if they did it says far more about our system and may keep quiet those who are quick to blame islam rather than the individual and the system. We can look at recent events and say this really has nothing to do with islam as several high profile murders have been because the offender was out on bail.

We also need to stop making policies designed to win elections and big note our security. Its quite clear we could stop immigration altogether and still have terrorism here. Policies need to focus on those who have done wrong in the past or have shown intent to do wrong in the future and if they can’t be locked up, why not treat them much like paedophiles who have numerous conditions on release into society.

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