Seven West media and Daily Mail, stop presenting Mr Mohammed Tawhidi as a Muslim leader

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Supporters

The “Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege” published recently, had many purposes.[1] This document is a testament to the lives of innocent victims lost at the hands of a criminal and the questionable police response.[2] This essay does not wish to exasperate the real and continued suffering of the families and loved one of the victims by discussing their experience here. The author wishes only to note her empathy and solidarity with the families and loved ones of victims.

However, a second aspect of the inquest was to investigate the life of the criminal perpetrator Man Haron Monis.[3] Much of this investigation sought to establish if Monis was in fact mentally ill before or during the siege. The inquest report found that Monis was not psychotic and was without a mental illness, rather he exhibited narcissistic behaviour and possibly a personality disorder.[4] The telling findings were that Monis’ “narcissism meant he could become dangerous if his self-image was threatened.”[5]

The inquest also found that Monis had a long of history of publicly establishing this dangerous self-image. This included courting the media while depicting himself as a self-declared Islamic cleric. In this guise, he not only sent abusive letters to the families of service men killed in action, he also established a spiritual healing practice that he used as a front to cover his acts of criminal sexual assault.[6]

At no point, did any religious, political or civic institution recognise Monis to be a cleric of any type. He had received some theological education, but this was far from enough to allow him to position himself as a cleric or religious leader of any kind.[7] Sadly for individuals who did put their faith in him, many became victims of his criminal perversion.[8] Eventually, starved of followers and media attention (due to court orders preventing his offensive letters being sent), Monis abandoned his robes and self-declared religiosity in public and moved on to other narcissistic fantasies.

Yet today in Australia, beside this narrative of a deluded man misusing religion for the purpose of self-aggrandising, we have a second man dressed in religious robes and appealing to the media with radical and offensive claims and behaviour. The name of this second man is Mohammed Tawhidi. There is now ample evidence to show that Tawhidi is a fraud and has little theological training or (thankfully) following that would allow him to claim himself to be an Islamic cleric.[9] Where Monis chose to attack the families of service-people killed in action (not a popular choice), Tawhidi is establishing himself as a divisive Islamophobe.[10] This sadly popular form of xenophobia has seen him achieve more air time than many Australian senators and MPs. In fact, the style of offence he is propagating is so news worthy for tabloid outlets, that they are now creating the stories by taking Tawhidi to places in Sydney with a high Muslim population specifically to create social upheaval and distress.[11] Mr Tawhidi doesn’t need to chain himself to public buildings or go on hunger strikes in order to gain media notoriety it seems (unlike Monis).[12]

The Lindt Siege Inquest found that fraudulent people whose existence is fixated on hate and xenophobia can have some very real and disastrous consequences for wonderful and innocent citizens.[13] We, the citizens of Australia and the signatories to this petition, do not wish to see the narcissistic delusions of a false man dressed as a religious leader, influence the lives of others ever again in this nation. As such, we call on free to air media channels to desist from giving this man air time under the guise of an Islamic religious representative. He represents no one except himself. He may speak to the media under his own capacity or through his social media profile as may any of us. But we do not wish to see this man presented as a religious leader who represents the approximate 500 000 Muslim Australians that make up part of our multicultural and multi-faith nation. We do not wish to see the media build an untruthful self-image for another narcissistic self-declared cleric. We do not want to see the ‘fall out’ when that self-image is inevitably destroyed in the face of reality.

We, the citizens of Australia, as informed by the findings of the Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, petition all media outlets – but particularly Seven West media and The Daily Mail, in all forms, to stop presenting Mr Mohammed Tawhidi as a Muslim leader or representative of any kind – as there is ample evidence he is nothing of the sort.[14] We petition for this as we, the citizens of this nation, will not be made complicit in enhancing the delusions of xenophobes or attention craving people who seek to undermine our multicultural peace.

 



[1] State Coroner of New South Wales, Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 4 – [accessed 15/6/17] http://www.lindtinquest.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/findings-and-recommendations.pdf
[2] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 42.
[3] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 11.
[4] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 69.
[5] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 72.
[6] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 65.
[7] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 57.
[8] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 65.
[9] Chloe Patton, “Welcome to the Weird World of Australia's 'Fake Sheikh', Mohammad Tawhidi,” ABC Religion and Ethics, 11 Apr 2017.

One Path Network, “Fake Imams Play as “Muslim Leaders” to Stir Hatred and Fear,” March 03, 2017.

Australian National Imams Council, “Press Release,” March 02, 2017. “ANIC states clearly that this individual, Mohammed Tawhidi, is not a recognised Imam, Sheikh, or Muslim leader.”

 

 
[10] Media Watch “‘Fake’ Sheikh of shock,” Episode 15, 22 May 2017.
[11] Media Watch “‘Fake’ Sheikh of shock,” Episode 15, 22 May 2017.
[12] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 66.
[13] Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege, May 2017, page 412.
[14] Chloe Patton, “Welcome to the Weird World of Australia's 'Fake Sheikh', Mohammad Tawhidi,” ABC Religion and Ethics, 11 Apr 2017.

One Path Network, “Fake Imams Play as “Muslim Leaders” to Stir Hatred and Fear,” March 03, 2017.

Australian National Imams Council, “Press Release,” March 02, 2017. “ANIC states clearly that this individual, Mohammed Tawhidi, is not a recognised Imam, Sheikh, or Muslim leader.”

Media Watch “‘Fake’ Sheikh of shock,” Episode 15, 22 May 2017.

 

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