Muslim and Christian Leaders Unite Against Terrorist Shooting

Michael Paraskevas [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Michael Paraskevas [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Religious leaders in Australia respond to Parramatta shooting.

Curtis Cheng, a civilian police employee, was shot by Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar, a 15-year-old, as he was leaving the New South Wales police headquarters in Australia’s Parramatta business district last Friday 10/9/2015. It is being investigated as terrorism because it occurred immediately after Jabar left the mosque, and it is reported he screamed religious phrases as he opened fire on the 58-year-old IT expert at point blank range. Police officers responded with gunfire, and Jabar too was shot dead at the scene of the crime.

Four men have been held in connection with the attack after 200 officers belonging to the State Crime Command Homicide Squad and NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team subsequently raided several properties. Catherine Burn, the Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Police said that Jabar is not believed to have acted alone and may have come under some sort of influence, which was religiously, politically or ideologically motivated. Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan of the Australian Federal Police said that they are working with Turkish officials to find Jabar’s sister, who is understood to have flown to Istanbul just before the shooting, although there is no proof of her involvement.

Muslim and Christian Leaders Unite Against Terrorist Shooting[/tweetthis]

Several religious figures have offered their support, including Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, who acknowledged that religious extremism did sadly exist among a miniscule percentage of Muslims in the country. He condemned the act and said “Stop messing with Australia,” to those chose to take the side of the shooter – an unnamed 17-year-old who goes the same school as Jabar had posted in favor of the attacker and said that another police station was the next target.

Maha Abdo of the United Muslim Women Association felt that it was appalling and hurtful and parents needed to start talking about it because “it could be [their] child next,” while Gosford Anglican Church's Fr. Rod Bower stated that society's combined response to the attack would have a bearing on community relations in the future. Keysar Trad of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia said that those choosing a path of religious extremism could not be counseled by an Imam or a Sheikh.

"These young boys who are doing this, we can't reach them and talk to them. They don't listen to us. It's by isolating themselves from us that they have gone to the dark side. Unless you have young leaders stepping outside the office and roaming the streets looking for boys like this, you are not going to find them," says Trad.

Jabar is of Turkish-Kurdish heritage and was born in Iran. Malcolm Turnbull replacing Tony Abbott as Prime Minister is said to have resulted in the government having increased and better relations with the Muslim community Down Under.


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