Sydney siege ‘elephant in the room’

Charge over row at Auckland mosque

Quran 22:58. And those who emigrated for the cause of God and then were killed or died – God will surely provide for them a good provision.
This is ordinary Islam. “Imran Patel, 25, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday on a charge of threatening behaviour following a dispute around the Avondale Islamic Centre in May.”
Sydney siege ‘elephant in the room’ – NZ judge
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A New Zealand judge has made reference to the Sydney siege as “the elephant in the room” while sentencing a man who shouted jihadist slogans at a Muslim leader.

Imran Patel, 25, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday on a charge of threatening behaviour following a dispute around the Avondale Islamic Centre in May.

Judge Ema Aitken said the case featured shades of extremism, but could not be compared to the gravity of the incident in Australia the previous day.

“Let’s address the elephant in the room,” the judge said to begin sentencing.

“This follows on from the appalling events in Sydney in the last 24 hours but there’s nothing to suggest I’m dealing with anything as serious as that.”

The flashpoint in West Auckland came after Salafist imam Abu Abdullah and his supporters were trespassed from the mosque after allegations he was spreading extremist messages.

The stoush progressed further when former New Zealand Muslim Association president Haider Lone – an administrator at the Avondale centre – was seriously assaulted.

Mr Lone sustained serious facial injuries and was recovering at home with his family when Patel and an associate turned up on his doorstep.

Judge Aitken said the defendant was making statements about jihad, yelling “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) and making victory signs with his fingers.

“Show us your face. Show us your pretty face,” Patel said, in reference to Mr Lone’s recent injuries.

When the victim opened the door, the defendant pointed his finger in his face in a threatening manner.

Though there was no physical assault, Judge Aitken said “violence could have erupted”.
Patel’s lawyer John Gerard said his client was “a hard-working man who has nothing at all to do with the radical people in the Muslim faith”.

He worked six days a week at a central city kebab shop and now prayed at the Mt Roskill mosque.

“One shouldn’t judge all Muslims by the violent fringe,” he said.

“As a good Muslim man, he says he does not support violence in any way.”

The judge sentenced Patel to 60 hours of community work and ordered him to pay $300 to Mr Lone for emotional harm caused.

He was also ordered not to contact the victim.

Patel’s co-accused will defend the charge.

After several references to the Sydney situation, Judge Aitken finished by warning the defendant about the context of his actions and being more aware of how they came across.

“What happened in Australia?” a confused Patel said.

“You’ll have to find out for yourself,” the judge replied.

Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Dr Anwar Ghani said he hoped the Avondale Islamic Centre would reopen soon after being closed for the last seven months.