Muslims condemn terror attack


TWO senior and respected Islamic leaders in Wagga have condemned the actions of a man who killed two people in the Martin Place siege.

Dr Ata ur Rehman, chairman of Muslim Association of Riverina Wagga Australia (MARWA), said the man responsible for the tragedy - 50-year-old Man Haron Monis - was in no way a Muslim, despite Monis proclaiming himself as a Muslim and being described in various media reports as a self-styled cleric.

"He has insulted Muslims all over the world," Dr Rehman said.

"He has not done any good for Islam.

"I would not call him a Muslim. Full stop."

Dr Rehman described Monis - who before his death was accused of being an accessory to his former wife's brutal murder and charged with more than 40 counts of indecent assault - as a disturbed person.

"We totally deplore what he has done, it is nothing to do with Islam whatsoever," Dr Rehman said.

On behalf of his community, Dr Rehman expressed condolences to the people affected by the siege, particularly the families of the two people killed by Monis.

"The whole community is so sad," Dr Rehman said.

"I am getting messages ... we have to reach out to the people, especially the two victims and say how sad we are.

"We are with these people and anything we can do for their families we would be very happy to do.

"Our prayers are with them."

The Muslim chaplain at Charles Sturt University, Dr Recep Dogan, said he feared an upsurge in anger and violence towards Muslims in Australia as a result of Monis's individual act of terror.

"We need to promote dialogue and mutual understanding," Dr Dogan said.

Earlier, and in a prepared statement, Dr Dogan condemned what he described as the terrorist activity in Sydney and said he was sad two hostages had died.

"I give my condolences to their families and apologise for the terrorist activity that was done in the name of Islam," Dr Dogan said.

"First of all, Islam never allows any terrorist activity and violence.

"Therefore, a terrorist cannot be a Muslim, nor a Muslim a terrorist.

"Indeed, terrorists do not belong to any religion, for the essence of belief is love and peace.

"One more time, the terrorist has blackened the bright face of Islam with his evil act and violence."