In the latest edition of its propaganda publication Dabiq, ISIS lashed out at media for highlighting the fact that at the time of the “daring raid,” the hostage-taker, Man Haron Monis, was awaiting trial on several criminal charges.
It said any past transgressions had been wiped away by his act of martyrdom.
(During the siege, which ended with two hostages and Monis dead, media outlets reported on the Iranian-born perpetrator’s legal troubles. He was awaiting trial on charges of being accessory to the murder of his former wife, and separately on a number of charges of indecently assaulting women who had consulted him in his capacity as a supposed Islamic faith healer.)
The ISIS article said the media response to the unfolding siege had been “predictable.”
“They immediately began searching for anything negative that they could use against him, and subsequently began reporting numerous allegations made against him in an attempt to smear his character and, by extension, the noble cause that he was fighting for – the cause of Allah,” it said.
“The fact is, however, that any allegations leveled against a person concerning their past are irrelevant as long as they hope for Allah’s mercy and sincerely repent from any previous misguidance. This is so with one who embraces Islam and thereby has his past history of shirk [idolatry] and transgression completely erased …”
This applied even more so in the case of someone who was “killed in the path of Allah,” the Dabiq writer added, citing a declaration by Mohammed, the 7th century founder of Islam, that “such a person would be forgiven the moment his blood is first spilled.”
During and after the mid-December hostage-taking in Sydney, many analysts and commentators characterized Monis as unhinged. Despite the fact he had forced hostages to hold up a jihadist banner during the siege, some questioned whether he should be labeled a terrorist at all.
The ISIS article made it clear that the terrorist group is happy to claim Monis as one of its own – along with other individuals involved in attacks in recent months in the United States, Canada, France and Australia.
It described him as “a Muslim who resolved to join the mujahidin of the Islamic State in their war against the crusader coalition.”
“He did not do so by undertaking the journey to the lands of the Khilafah and fighting side-by-side with his brothers but rather, by acting alone and striking the kuffar [infidels] where it would hurt them most – in their own lands and on the very streets that they presumptively walk in safety.”
The writer said Monis’ actions had been in response to an earlier appeal by ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.
In that message, uploaded on social media last September, Adnani said:
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner …”
The Dabiq writer said others would follow the example set by Monis and by others who had taken such actions in recent months.
It named Zale Thompson, a Muslim convert who attacked police officers in New York City with a hatchet on Oct. 24; Martin Couture-Rouleau, who killed a Canadian soldier in a hit-and-run attack in Quebec on Oct. 20; Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who shot dead a Canadian soldier in Ottawa on Oct. 22; Numan Haider, who stabbed two Australian counter-terrorism officers in Melbourne on Sept. 23; and Bertrand Nzohabonayo, a French national originally from Burundi who attacked two French police officers with a knife on Dec. 20
“[A]ll that the West will be able to do is to anxiously await the next round of slaughter and then issue the same tired, cliché statements in condemnation of it when it occurs,” the article said.
“The Muslims will continue to defy the kafir [infidel] war machine, flanking the crusaders on their own streets and bringing the war back to their own soil.”
The ISIS publication is named for Dabiq, a small town in northern Syria which was the site of a 16th century battle, and which features prominently in Islamic end-times beliefs.
The jihadist group has published six editions of the online magazine since last July, with most articles focusing on its violent campaign in Iraq and Syria and the development of its “caliphate.”
A feature article in the fourth edition, published in October, urged Muslim supporters in the West to carry out attacks against their compatriots at home.
“At this point of the crusade against the Islamic State, it is very important that attacks take place in every country that has entered into the alliance against the Islamic State, especially the U.S., U.K., France, Australia, and Germany,” it said. “Rather, the citizens of crusader nations should be targeted wherever they can be found.”