Just months after the lone wolf attacks by the shooter in Canada’s capital and the hatchet man in Queens New York, Australia has had its taste of ‘Wahhabi’s on the warpath’.(1)
This time another recent convert to the Wahhabi Salafi Islamic sect, Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Islamic cleric aged 50, decided to mount a lone wolf operation to restore glory and pride to his perceived oppressed Sunni brothers. Before then he was a sadistic sexual predator and hater of the West. He was the “author of “grossly offensive” letters sent to taunt parents and relatives of Australians killed by extremism in Indonesia as well as troops who lost their lives in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009.(2)
Born “Mohammad Hassan Manteghi,” who came to Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996. On 15 December 2014, this man of ‘Peace’ aka “Manteghi Boroujerdi” and “Sheikh Haron” armed with a pump action shot gun went into a busy Sydney café and held 17 innocent Australians hostage demanding an ISIS flag and to talk to the Australian Prime Minister. The siege ended early on the morning of 16 December, when he shot one of the hostages and was then killed by police.
Significantly, Haron recently converted from Shia Islam to a radical version of Sunni Islam, Wahhabi Salafism. Most terrorist attacks against the West have been perpetrated by Sunni extremists from the Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri cult which the Australian PM correctly describes as a Death Cult who seek martyrdom in killing Shia’s and Westerners.
On his website he proudly renounces his Iranian Shia heritage and says “I used to be a ‘Rafidi’ ( رافضي an Arabic term for “one who rejects” that is typically used by Sunnis to denigrate Shias as non-Muslim) but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim (Arabic: مسلم), Al-ḥamdu lillāh” (Arabic الحمد لله) phrase meaning “All Praise and Thanks to God”). In other words he stating that he is a Sunni and in the typical Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri narrative, so a true Muslim and by implication, that all Shia are takfiri (Arabic: تكفيري for ‘apostate’).
“In their ongoing campaign to unseat the Shia government of Iraq and the Alawite government Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, aka ISIS) frequently uses “rafida” (sometimes “raafida”) to refer to all Muslims who are not Sunni. This term is also used to refer to citizens of Iran, which is approximately 90% Shia and 8% percent Sunni. ISIL members are known to execute those who they accuse of being “rafida”. In Saudi Arabia today (where the Wahhabi Salafi denomination of Islam predominates), Shiites are referred to as Rafidha. In Iraq, anti-Shi’a material is still surfacing. A discourse was released after improvement by the name of “The Rafida in the Land of Tawhid”, which included orders by a member of the Higher Council, to kill Shi’is. Until 1993, schoolbooks in Saudi Arabia openly denounced the Shi’i and Sufi beliefs and referred to the Shi’i as rafida in the books.” (3)
With his girlfriend, Amirah Droudis, Haron undertook a campaign protesting against the presence of Australian troops in Afghanistan, by writing letters to the families of soldiers killed there, in which he called the soldiers murderers. “Haron was arrested on charges of “using a postal or similar service to menace, harass or cause offence”, all of which he pleaded guilty to in 2013. He was reportedly sentenced to probation and 300 hours of community service.”(4)
Chillingly, his web page said after his conviction for sending grieving relatives of killed Aussie servicemen hate mail was: “From now on when I want to advise people not to kill children, I should do it by hand delivery, not by using the postal service”.(5)
We are told he was a lone wolf but he was a leader in the Sydney Islamic Community also known as Sheik Haron. He has devotees/followers. The police and counter terrorist organizations would be wise to round them up and question each of them and keep an eye on them.
One of his closest associates is his girlfriend ‘sister’ Amirah Droudis who allegedly brutally killed Sheikh Haron’s ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal, setting her on fire and stabbing her 18 times in a stairwell in March 2014. She was out on bail for that, as was Haron. Haron and his girlfriend were on bail for charges relating to this brutal killing when the siege occurred.(6)
Here is a video(7) of a ‘sister’ devotee of ‘brother’ Haron’s from the website www.sheikhharon.com saying “In the name of God the Merciful…” there is media mafia that reports on behalf of Islam’s enemies. Listen for the machine gun sound effects at the end of the clip with the words: ‘Our Policy: War on Oppression’ (8)
Someone has taken down his website but here is a copy:
On his website, he describes himself as a cleric of ‘Peace’ but that means only peace for the Muslims…all enemies of Muslims as he sees them (“America and its allies including UK and Australia” ) must be confronted for their so called “criminal acts” in oppressing Muslims (and he shoes graphic images of dead, presumably Muslim, children in which it is implied that the West killed)….on the website he says Muslims must fight against these ‘crimes’ and so uphold ‘peace’. This is his perverted message and the narrative of all Wahhabi Salafi’s like Al Qaeda and ISIS. He exhorts his ‘brothers’ (fellow Sunni Muslims) to “obey Allah and His Messenger and the caliph” (i.e. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ISIS leader who has proclaimed himself Caliph of Sunni Muslims). Also an image on the website shows Haron wearing the same headband he wore during the Martin Place siege, which said: “We are ready to sacrifice for you, O Muhammad” (a motif often used by suicide martyrs) which suggests he was ready to perpetrate horror and then end his life as a Salafi hero /’Shaheed” on a martyrdom operation. If true, it was just as well the siege ended as it did, thanks to the heroism of the Lindt Chocolate Cafe manager, Tori Johnson who grappled with the gunman when Sheikh Haron the cleric of ‘peace’ tried to shoot fleeing hostages with his pump action shotgun. (9)
This horrific act of terror in the middle of downtown Sydney vindicates the Australian government’s strong stand against hate preaching and extremism and the beefing up of their laws and counter terrorism infrastructure.
It also vindicates the large prophylactic raids by Police to thwart beheadings in Martin Place just months prior to this siege from Moran’s fellow travellers.
Interestingly after those raids in September 2014, Hizb ut-Tahrir and many Muslims (approximately 400) including Wassim Doureihi (owner of the infamous Jihadist ‘Al Risalah Islamic Bookstore’ in Bankstown) and Sheikh Haron (pictured third from the left in Salafi dress and fist pumping the air) organized a mass Muslim protest at the Lakemba railway station in Sydney. (10)
Many Counter Terrorism commentators including Muslims like Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam Foundation have said of this siege that what is needed is a counter narrative to the Wahhabi Salafi ideology which says that the West oppresses Sunni Muslims and needs to fight and instil terror in the West to build a theocratic Sharia dominated Salafi Caliphate in the Middle East, the Balkans, North Africa and Spain to be safe from contamination from a decadent and militant West and restore Islamic pride. See Maajid’s earlier interview on CNN as to what makes people (like Sheikh Haron) want to support and identify with extremist Wahhabi Salafi outfits like Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Jemaah Islamiyah, Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, Hiz ut-Tahrir and ISIS.(11)
After the Sydney Siege, it is hoped that ‘hate preachers’ in Australia and everywhere will be exposed without the retort that to do so is an attack on the Islamic community. It is not.
Here is a list of some of the Australian hate preachers and you will see that they all espouse the ISIS Wahhabi Salafi Takfiri ideology.(12)
Most Muslims do not accept these radical hate preachers. They are normally at the fringes of Islamic society. They gain marginal acceptance in times of conflict but Muslim families fear for their children who could get caught up with the Wahhabi Salafi extremists who glorify death for a false narrative that Muslims and Non-Muslims cannot co-exist and that this justifies suicide martyrdom jihad attacks on the West of the kind Sheikh Haron was on in a chocolate shop at Christmas time. (13)
- See my previous article in Modern Diplomacy: https://www.moderndiplomacy.eu/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=427:wahhabi-lone-wolves-on-the-warpath-in-the-west&Itemid=488
Political Scientist: Taliban Rule will lead to terrorism activation in Pakistan
The strengthening of terrorist activity in the northwest of Pakistan and the country as a whole is linked with reinforcing the Taliban’s power in Afghanistan. Since they have established absolute power in Afghanistan, implicitly or not, they support the Pakistani Taliban. Although these are different organizations, they definitely have a common genesis, ties and contacts, but they deny this. However, we understand that the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban are at least allies. This is how a political scientist, Ph.D., associate professor Georgi Asatryan commented on the latest developments around the situation in Afghanistan and the activity of the Taliban.
“There was another explosion in Peshawar; unfortunately, this can be predicted to occur again. Now we witness a particular conflict between the Pakistani and Afghan authorities represented by the Taliban. Pakistan, represented by the Minister of Defense and other high-ranking officials, blames the Afghan authorities for these attacks, arguing that the Taliban Kabul is supporting the Pakistani Taliban, and the Taliban, in turn, deny this. Therefore, this conflict between the two South Asian countries will boost and worsen”, said political scientist Georgi Asatryan.
The administration of the Pakistani Taliban has announced that it is lost the armistice. It happened in November. The Pakistani Taliban announced that they were withdrawing from the armistice with Pakistan and called on their supporters to launch attacks on targets in Pakistan. It should be mentioned that the situation will worsen and destabilize as long as the Taliban run in Afghanistan and supports its Pakistani allies.
To a certain extent, we witness how the method of the Pakistani military to support the Afghan Taliban leads to harmful and dangerous outcomes for them. The Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan would be impossible, or quite complicated, without the total assistance, consultations and, to a certain extent, the participation of the Pakistani military. Now we see a growth of terrorist networks in the region. The policy of strategic depth leads to troubles and threats for Pakistan itself.
The country’s ruling parties received a warning from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) that “concrete actions” aimed at their leadership would be carried out in reaction to the statement of war against them. In this statement, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari were named in the TPP message. In addition, the statement contains a warning to the religious political parties of Pakistan. They are urged not to participate in activities directed against the TPP. “TTP’s policy does not include targeting your parties, but we ask you to avoid engaging in any activity against us,” it says. The TPP danger came two days after the National Security Committee of Pakistan announced its decision to combat organizations related to violence and terrorism.
According to Al Jazeera, Pakistan is confronting an attack again. Analysts express that as the country enters into an election year, the leadership of Pakistan should develop a strategy to counter the threat to internal security. At least nine attacks occurred in the southwestern province of Balochistan last Sunday, killing six employees of security services. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known as the Pakistani Taliban due to its close ideology to the Afghan Taliban, has claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Countering Terrorism: 2023 and Beyond
Pakistan has carried three significant issues from 2022 into 2023. These include political instability, a dwindling economy and resurging terrorism. With respect to terrorism, Afghanistan has assumed centre stage. Following the withdrawal of US forces on 15 Aug 2021, there was initial jubilation in Pakistan over Taliban’s triumph. It stemmed from the perception that US military presence in the region and drone strikes were the leading sources of regional instability.
2022 ended for Pakistan with an upsurge in terrorist activities and accordingly the New Year started with a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC). The press release following the meeting reiterated NSC’s resolve to ‘have zero tolerance for terrorism in Pakistan and reaffirmed its determination to take ‘on any and all entities that resort to violence.’ This is a welcome decision by the government and state organs.
Pakistan’s counterterrorism (CT) efforts gained momentum following the unprecedented Army Public School (APS) massacre of 2014. Some have compared it to Pakistan’s 9/11. The tragedy was relatable to all of Pakistan regardless of the so-called ethnic, regional or sectarian divides. The inhumane attacks brought the civil and military leadership together in assigning this scourge of terrorism the priority that it deserved. The most prominent outcome was a National Action Plan on countering terrorism that enjoyed broadest possible political support.
Subsequently, the united stance against terrorism enabled unprecedented successes in rooting out terrorism. However, it appears that the reduction in terrorist activities led to a sense of complacency which was further aided by growing political polarisation that had more to do with differences on domestic, economic and foreign policy issues. Unfortunately, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan occurred at a time when Pakistan was struggling with internal politics. Apparently, the eventual prevalence of Afghan Taliban against a super power that they had been resisting for two decades, emboldened the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to think that it could similarly attrite the Pakistani nation and its state organs.
TTP’s motivation seems to be misplaced for primarily three reasons. First and foremost, the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) of Pakistan are fighting this war to provide a safe and secure environment to the future generations of the country – including their own children; unlike the US and coalition forces that neither had a clear objective nor a consistent policy to follow. Second, much of Afghan Taliban’s acceptance at the domestic level was based on the fact that they were fighting a foreign occupant – which is not the case for TTP. Thirdly, the Afghan Taliban assumed power by virtue of force rather than the will of the public and that is why they struggle to gain legitimacy at home and abroad.
Pakistani political leadership might differ on the possible approaches to dealing with this issue, but there certainly is no appetite for letting the TTP and associated factions consolidate power to a degree that they are able to challenge state’s writ at a level comparable to yesteryears. However, display of a united front by the various ruling parties at the Centre and provinces will help demonstrate that there will be no tolerance for terrorist activities no matter which political party assumes power.
TTP’s threat against the leadership of two ruling parties is an attempt to exploit the current domestic political divide. Political mudslinging on this issue only helps the enemy’s cause. The ongoing struggle for power between the political parties should not enable TTP to consolidate power in the interim period. Otherwise, it will become a greater threat for the next government to deal with. During the previous election years, terrorist outfits were successful in targeting the leadership of various political parties during their election campaigns and arguably changing the election outcomes by terrorising the electorate. It is in shared interest of all the political parties to avoid a repeat of such a scenario.
While the politico-military leadership establishes a united front at home, it will be important to deny external actors the ability to exploit Pakistan’s internal situation. Pakistan has been at the receiving end of accusations even as it presents irrefutable evidence of external involvement in terrorist activities inside the country. As Pakistan continues to expose foreign involvement, it ought to simultaneously deny foreign actors fertile ground to exploit at home. Previously, the foreign threat was limited to the Eastern front but now it has expanded at an unprecedented level to the Western front where the Taliban government is either complicit or unable to check use of its territory to launch terrorist attacks against Pakistan.
2023 is likely going to be the year of General Elections in Pakistan. Whichever party assumes power, it is important that it looks at counterterrorism as a long-term operation that will require broader political support, less in-fighting and an ability to stay the course impervious of temporary gains and setbacks which will inevitably be a part of the process.
A Rift Getting Deeper: TTP and IEA parting their ways?
A few days ago, an alleged audio of Tahreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief, Noor Wali Mehsud has caught the attention of those who keep a close eye on terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, especially Tahreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Through this audio, Noor Wali has sent a message, to TTP fighters to pick up arms against the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) after its search operation in provinces along the Pak-Afghan border. Since the takeover of Kabul, some security analysts had predicted the possible collaboration of IEA with TTP. Still, the evolution of TTP strategies and its ideological shift from being a branch of IEA to being an opponent of IEA was observed. Only those who have kept a sharp eye on TTP activities know that TTP is now a threat to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The reason behind the shift in TTP’s strategies:
What compelled TTP to give such a big statement? This question comes to everyone’s mind, the below discussion is made in context to this question. The ideological standing of both TTP and IEA is far different. Afghan Taliban are ethnic nationals. They have only fought a war against foreign forces for Afghan territory and have never claimed any region beyond the borders of Afghanistan. However, TTP has long taken inspiration from Al-Qaeda, which has expansionist objectives and deadly takfiri ideology to create a falsified identity of believers and non-believers, only to legitimize its terror activities in the name of Islam. Hence, following the footprints of such a radical organization, there is a significant possibility that TTP will join hands with ISKP against IEA.
Question of natural and forced alliance:
Since the Kabul takeover, TTP has tried to align with IEA, thus, giving it the camouflage of a natural alliance. TTP’s leadership also manifested this narrative in its statements and activities. But the ideological drift and conflicting objectives show that TTP’s so-called alignment with IEA was one-sided and enforced. After the Kabul takeover, TTP tried its well to be a part of IEA but by rigid stance, IEA always cleared in their statement that TTP and IEA are two different groups, having different inspirations and goals.
Pakistan’s role that TTP in using Afghan soil:
Pakistan has been fighting TTP since 2003. In April 2022, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) struck the hideouts of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan along the Durand Line. This strike highlighted that a group within IEA was keen on providing safe havens to TTP. Hence, diplomatic pressure was mounted on IEA to eradicate TTP from the strategic provinces of Kunar and Khost.
Chance of Mutual tussle between TTP and IEA:
Is there another conflict going to happen in the region? Now, the battle is the same, but the opponents are different. The so-called narrative that claims IEA and TTP were on the same table is wrecking after TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud and IEA spoke’s person Zabiullah Mujahid’s statements.” They are not, as an organization, part of IEA, and we don’t share the same objectives,” Zabiullah Mujahid said in reaction to TTP chief Noor Wali Mehsud’s claims of being a part of the IEA. Now, the TTP chief has alerted his fighters for war. It would create complexities in the region. IEA acted as a mediator between the government of Pakistan and TTP to make peace in the region. Additionally, Zabiullah mujahid also mentioned that We advise TTP to focus on peace and stability in their country. This is very important so, they can prevent any chance for enemies to interfere in the region, and we request Pakistan to investigate their demands for the better of the region and Pakistan.
Mujahid added that the TTP was Pakistan’s internal matter “The IEA stance is that we do not interfere in other countries affairs. We do not interfere in Pakistan’s affairs.”
After this emerging rift, would it be possible for IEA to counter TTP? IEA is struggling to stabilize the state after Kabul take over. Nowadays, Afghanistan’s security and economy are on the verge of chaos. It would not be able to engage in other conflicts nor do they have the power to do so. And if they engaged in battle with TTP, an alliance of ISKP and TTP can hurt Afghanistan. But if they counter them, there is a chance to get international sympathy and maybe recognition because it will endorse the Doha agreement, as Recognition has become a dire need in Afghanistan.
In a nutshell, it won’t be inappropriate to assume that another war will break out, and it is likely more drastic than the last ones. Despite all the hurdles, it is an opportunity for IEA to gain global sympathy for its recognition and to legitimize its regime. If the IEA becomes successful in convincing the world by taking action against terrorist outfits and extremism in its ranks, it will not only pave the way for its recognition but also meet with the minutes of the DOHA Accord to not allow any violent non-state actor to operate within Afghan territory.
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