Sydney Suffers Lone Wolf Terror Attack

A 16-hour siege of a cafe in central Sydney, Australia, just ended. It appears there are two dead, one of them the terrorist Man Haron Monis. He was a 49 year-old, Iranian-born, self-proclaimed Muslim cleric with a lengthy criminal record who had been free on bail. The incident shut down central Sydney and appears to be the action of one desperately sad individual. Australia has responded to the affair with caution and dignity as well as a sense of fair play toward its Muslim population.

The Washington Post reported, “Monis was charged last year with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife who was stabbed and set alight in a Sydney apartment block, Reuters reported. Monis’s website shows graphic images of children that the website says were killed by U.S. and Australian airstrikes.” TheSydney Morning Herald also said, “Monis has been charged with several counts of sexual assault and was found guilty in 2012 of sending offensive and threatening letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed overseas.” Clearly, he was a troubled individual whose religious mania only aggravated his mental difficulties.

However, the evidence suggests he was alone in his actions. For one thing, he was the only hostage-taker. In a situation like this, a dedicated team would send more than one man. One person will get tired, lose focus. A team can keep each other alert and heighten the chance for whatever they deem success to be. For another, he had to ask the authorities to provide him with the Islamic banner he put up in the window — a black flag with white Arabic lettering that declared “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger.”That’s hardly the hallmark of a well-organized cell.

“This is a one-off random individual. It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged goods individual who’s done something outrageous,” Mr. Monis’ former lawyer, Manny Conditsis, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.”

The AP noted, “Australia raised its terror warning level in September in response to a domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group. At the time, one man arrested during a series of raids in Sydney was charged with conspiring with an Islamic State leader in Syria to behead a random person in downtown Sydney.” Some have speculated that Mr. Monis acted in retaliation for the raids.

Whatever his motivation, a great many Australians have resisted the urge to paint all Muslims with the same brush. Since the affair started, a hashtag has grown in popularity #illridewithyou. Someone known on Twitter as @SirTessa tweeted, “If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.” Then, “Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?” Over night, there were 90,000 tweets with that hashtag.

@jim_c500 tweeted “As luck would have it, taking the bus to work tomorrow. Adelaide Hills to CBD – let me know if you need company #illridewithyou”

Emma @CheerfulPhoenix “I’m not in Sydney, but I am in Australia, and if anyone in Adelaide feels unsafe wearing religious attire, #illridewithyou”

Sarona @SSagele tweeted, “Sadly this day exposed the worst in this country, w/ ignorance and xenophobia more prominent than ever. #illridewithyou showed us the best.”

This is the very definition of “fair dinkum.”