The fake Sheikh Haron updated 12/15/14

The fake Sheikh Haron

by Sheila Musaji

There is a despicable character in Australia claiming to be a Sheikh, and engaging in disgusting behavior.  He sent a letter to the parents of Private Luke Worsely in which he claimed to be an Islamic leader, “Sheikh Haron”, taunting them on the day they buried their son.

Austrolabe published this article on 12/6/2007:

There is nothing more precious than one’s children; for a parent to lose a child must cause pain beyond imagining. It must therefore have been extremely distressing for the parents of Private Luke Worsely to receive a letter purporting to be from an Islamic leader, “Sheikh Haron”, taunting them on the day they buried their son. A copy of the same letter was sent to News Limited, extracts of which they published online.

It remains to be asked: who is “Sheikh Haron”? To begin with, the sheikh would be more convincing (as a Muslim) if he could spell his own name correctly. “Haron” is how I would imagine an imbecile not conversant with Muslim names would spell “Harun’ or Haroon”, the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew “Aaron“. It resembles the comical fraud perpetrated by Liberal Party goon squad in the seat of Lindsay. How could one forget the “ALA AKBA” which resembled Alo Alo, more than Allah Hu Akbar.

The mystery of the fake sheikh is further clarified by a visit to his webpage. For a religious Muslim, it is clear that Sheikh Haron is fraudulent.

1. He does not begin with “In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful….” It would be impossible for a religious scholar to fail to do so.

2. The fatwa section is the real giveaway.  Firstly, the questions that are posed: they’re strange questions to ask a scholar. Muslims never ask scholars about who to vote for (that’s what anti-Muslim bigots imagine we do).

3. But his responses are the most bizarre. A religious scholar gives a fatwa, or religious opinion, the same way a QC gives a legal opinion: in a highly ordered and codified manner, quoting verses from the Qur’an and Hadith, and offering religious consensus before finally coming to the scholar’s own opinion. The author, however, is not conversant with Islam and therefore cannot do so, and so merely has written a short response from an opinion that he believes reflects Islamic doctrine.

4. Sheikh “Haron” has no surname, no telephone number, no address, and nobody in the Muslim community knows him. The author has designed this to be an opaque identity.

5. The media release section contain the letters the author has sent to various officials. However, the responses that the author has allegedly received from public figures are not on letterheads, nor have they been signed, nor indeed is there room in the letter template for a signature. They are clearly forgeries generated by the author of the site.

6. His “fatwas” are all, without exception, completely wrong — and wrong in the most infantile manner. For example:

“The people who say that Jesus (peace be upon him) is “God” or “son of God” or they call God “Father” are Mushriks, not Christians. We are not allowed to call them “Christian”.”

This is incorrect. The Qur’an defines Christians as those people of the Book who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

7. He appears to believe he is being followed and monitored where ever he goes.  He also seems to subscribe to a weird crackpot theory that the Australian government are hacking Google to give Muslims a bad name.  Neither instill much confidence.

8. Religious scholars don’t normally spam government departments with strange requests and allegations.

The author of the Sheikh Haron site is obviously not a religious scholar, and has designed it to perpetrate a fraud and cast a cloud over the Muslim community. He has intruded, in a most obscene manner, into the private grief of parents who have lost their son, and he has embarrassed the gullible editors of the New Limited website.

UPDATE 12/30/2007

Richard Kerbaj in the Australian reports Sheik ‘faked’ to stir up ill-feeling:

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has urged Sheik Haron - who ambiguously claims on his website to be a “small soldier” - to identify himself and stop exploiting freedom of speech to attack mainstream Australia under the banner of Islam.

AFIC president Ikebal Patel said Muslim leaders feared Sheik Haron - whose website provides no insight into his identity or religious qualifications - would encourage other members of the public to adopt the persona of an Islamic spiritual leader for the sake of whipping up controversy.  Mr Patel said dozens of senior Muslim spiritual leaders from around the country - including Australian National Imams Council executives - have been quizzed about the identity of Sheik Haron, but to no avail.  ...

UPDATE 2/5/2008

Richard Kerbaj in the Australian reports that there is a Call to probe mystery Shia cleric:

FEDERAL agents have been urged by the nation’s senior Shia leader, Kamal Mousselmani, to investigate an Iranian man purporting to be a prominent Islamic cleric
Sheik Mousselmani told The Australian yesterday the mystery cleric - who has been identified as Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi on his website after appearing under the name Sheik Haron - was not a genuine Shia spiritual leader.

He said there were no ayatollahs - supreme Shia scholars - in Australia and none of his fellow spiritual leaders knew who Ayatollah Boroujerdi or Sheik Haron was.

“We don’t know him and we have got nothing to do with him,” Sheik Mousselmani said. “The federal police should investigate who he is. It should be their responsibility.”

Sheik Haron, who insulted the family of an Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan in November, was accused by Muslim leaders of being a fake cleric deliberately stirring anti-Islamic sentiment.

Sheik Mousselmani, head of the Supreme Islamic Shia Council of Australia, which represents the nation’s 30,000 Shi’ites, said Sheik Haron’s website - Sheik Haron Web - gave him away as an amateur who knew little about Shia Islam.

“From the way he writes his (fatwas or religious edicts), I don’t think he is Shia Muslim,” Sheik Mousselmani said. “And there are no ayatollahs in Australia.

“We don’t follow, we don’t support and we don’t stand with anyone we don’t know. He’s not one of us.”

Sheik Haron has been identified in a letter on his websites that claims he is of Iranian background and once supported the country’s Islamic revolution against US “oppression”.

“Ayatollah Boroujerdi was supporting Ayatollah Khomeini (leader of the Iranian Islamic revolution) and the Islamic revolution like many others who were against the oppression of the United States of America, but later the direction of the Islamic revolution changed and it was not what the nation expected it to be,” the letter says.

Sheik Haron’s website lists a number of letters he has written to officials and ministers, including one to former attorney-general Philip Ruddock and one to federal police commissioner Mick Keelty.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ikebal Patel said yesterday the body’s investigation into the cleric last month could not find any information on who Sheik Haron is.  “I know the community very well, and this just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “We couldn’t find anything on the man.”

An Australian blogsite has published more information about this fake sheikh.  It seems that there is an Iranian Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi - who is in Iran, not Australia.  They also post photographs of the actual Sheikh and Sheikh Haron, and they are clearly NOT the same person.  Other sites have stated that Haron’s real name is actually Mohammad Hassan Manteghi. 

UPDATE 10/25/2009

Irfan Yusuf has published Give us a break, the fake sheik’s not worth the effort:

You’ve heard of tabloid media going after thick sheiks. Now some are even using fake sheiks.

At about 2pm yesterday my office received a message to call someone from Radio 2GB, home to such leading lights of quality journalism as Alan Jones. I called back and spoke to a female who worked with Jason Morrison. She wondered if I knew much about a certain Sheik Haron who had apparently been charged by Federal Police after sending abusive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan. She wanted to know if I’d be prepared to speak to Morrison on his afternoon Drive Show. I agreed.

Silly me. Morrison seemed less interested in Haron and more interested in why a group of people he described as “Moozlems” didn’t step forward to condemn the man. He wanted to know why he was having so much difficulty getting “Moozlems” to condemn this man on his program (I did remind him that many don’t listen to 2GB). Still he pressed the point about the alleged Muslim conspiracy of silence over Haron.

I said Haron hadn’t been given a huge amount of airplay or coverage (and I wasn’t just talking about the allegedly left-wing trendy “multi-culty”, the Fairfax press and ABC either). Maybe your average Aussie who ticked the Muslim box on his or her census form didn’t see the need to comment on some sheik who, by all accounts (including those of Richard Kerbaj in The Australian in January last year), was little more than a fake.

Even Jeremy Jones, of the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), was quoted in one Jewish blog as saying that Haron “works alone and has no support”.

And yet somehow fake-sheik Haron was an issue that one journalist described to Kevin Rudd at a press conference yesterday as “the question that’s dominating talkback radio today”. Rudd ended his response to the journalist’s question with: “You know, when you pick up the front page of the Tele today, I think people, I think their stomachs turn.”

The journalist asked Rudd whether he would consider changing Australia’s citizenship laws to allow “someone like that” (like what? Fake-sheik? Iranian? Crazy dude in a turban? Migrant?) to have their citizenship stripped of them and be deported. Rudd was non-committal.

It’s one thing for media outlets to use the rants of a thick sheik to cook up a divisive broth of dog whistles. But why use the imbecilic correspondence of a fake sheik to cast aspersions on 360,000 people, most of whom (including their religious leaders) have never heard of him?

After my interview with Morrison, I telephoned his researcher and asked whether the show had any trouble finding a Muslim to talk on the show. She confirmed that she hadn’t called an Islamic council, an imam, a board of imams or the Community Relations Commission. She did say that Morrison may have tried calling other people about the matter.

He may have. But I somehow doubt it.

UPDATE 8/7/2013

Just how much mileage can Islamophobes get out of a non-story?  Apparently, a lot.  Robert Spencer has just published Australia: Muslim cleric pleads guilty to sending offensive letters to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.  Even the article from AAP in Brisbane Spencer refers to as his source for this nonsense clearly refers to “Sheikh Haron” as a “self-styled Muslim cleric” whose real name is Man Haron Monis.  However, fact-checking is not the Islamophobes strong point.  They also have a tendency to promote almost anyone to “cleric”, for example, a street preacher gets promoted to “Muslim Cleric”, and some Islamophobes like Werner Reimann actually invent fake Sheikh personas for themselves.  Reimann calls himself Sheikh Yer’Mami.  if it suits their purposes.

This renewed interest in the “fake Sheikh” came as he pled guilty to charges that he had sent (between 2007 and 2009) the cruel letters to parents of seven Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

I don’t know what the punishment for such acts is under Australian law, but I certainly hope that he receives the maximum penalty allowed.  I also hope that more information about who exactly he is, and what his motives are for such actions is released.

I tried to locate any existing website for “Sheikh Haron” but could not.  It seems that previous websites have all been taken offline.  Let’s hope that whoever he is, he stays offline, and stops all of his offensive actions.

UPDATE 12/1/2013

Haron has now been accused ...“with being an accessory before and after the fact to the murder of a woman allegedly stabbed and set alight in a western Sydney stairwell earlier this year. Monis, also known as Sheikh Haron, was arrested along with a woman who earlier on Friday was charged with murder.”  Further, the woman who was charged is Haron’s girlfriend, and the murder victim was his ex-wife. 

It’s a shame that they did not keep him in jail after he was found guilty of sending the hate letters to soldiers families.

UPDATE 4/14/2014

This man can’t stay out of trouble.  Haron has been operating as a “spiritual healer”, and has now been charged with sexually assaulting a client.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Haron told “His alleged victim, who was 27 at the time, allegedly saw an advertisement for ‘‘Spiritual Consultation’’ in a local newspaper and contacted Monis. He told her he was an expert in astrology, numerology, meditation and black magic and advised her to visit his clinic.”

It has been reported 10/2014 that ‘Spiritual healer’ Man Haron Monis charged with an extra 40 sexual offences, and that:

...  Monis, who is also a self-styled sheikh known as Sheikh Haron, was sentenced to 300 hours of community service in September 2013 after he penned “grossly offensive” letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers.

He was also placed on a two-year good behaviour bond for 12 counts of using a postal service to cause offence.

Monis, who is currently on bail, is next due to appear in court in relation to indecent and sexual assault charges on February 27, 2015.

All of this is very strange, and it seems as if Haron is a mentally ill individual who really should be in jail, and not out on bail.

UPDATE 12/15/2014

The individual who took hostages in a Sydney, Australia siege of a cafe has been identified as Man Haron Monus.  The siege has now ended as police stormed the cafe, killing the criminal in the process.  At least one other person has been killed, and a number of people injured, but reports at this time are not clear.

When the hostage crisis was first reported, Australian Muslim leaders condemned the action of the hostage taker:

... ” Responding to the crisis, Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, the country’s highest Islamic office holder, said he felt devastated.

‘The Grand Mufti and the Australian National Imam Council condemn this criminal act unequivocally and reiterate that such actions are denounced in part and in whole in Islam,’ Professor Mohamed said in a statement.

‘We along (with) the wide Australian society await the results of the investigation about the identity of the perpetrators and their underlying motivations behind the criminal act.’

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils past president, Rehin Ghauri, said he was gravely concerned for his ‘Australian brothers and sisters’.

‘Holding people hostage like this is totally, absolutely and honestly un-Islamic,’ Mr Ghauri told AAP.

He hoped those behind the attack were ‘quickly apprehended and brought to justice’.

The Washington Post gives more details on the accomplice to murder charges mentioned above in the 12/1/2013 update:

... Last year, the paper noted, after a string of run-ins with Australian authorities, Monis was charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and mother of his two children. Noleen Hayson Pal, 30, was stabbed 18 times and set on fire outside a residence in western Sydney, according to the Daily Telegraph. Monis’s girlfriend, Amirah Droudis, was charged with Hayson Pal’s murder.

I will add to this final update on the fake Sheikh as soon as the facts are made available to the public.  It is a shame that this man was allowed out on bail.  Now there has been a terrible tragedy, and innocent people have died.


Australians Just Showed the World Exactly How to Respond to Terrorism With #IllRideWithYou

The Grand Mufti of Australia joins Muslim community leaders in condemning Sydney siege

Sydney Hostage Crisis Over After Police Storm Cafe

Sydney siege suspect Man Haron Monis’s bizarre life of crime

Who is Sydney hostage taker ‘Sheikh Haron’?, Dan Murphy

Who is Sheikh Haron, the Sydney Siege Suspect?

originally published 12/10/2007