The inquest into the deadly December siege yesterday heard that many of the claims made by Monis and the terms he used to describe his standing in the Muslim community were probably false. Monis had claimed at various times to be many things: a sheik, an ayatollah and a hojjat al-Islam, an honorific that’s traditionally used to describe accomplished Islamic scholars. Associate professor Mohamad Abdalla, an Islamic studies expert from Griffith University in Queensland, has cast doubt on these claims.
Asked by counsel assisting the inquest, Jeremy Gormly SC, whether Professor Abdalla believed Monis had ever attained the status of hojjat al-Islam, the professor replied: “As a scholar myself in the tradition, I believe it is quite difficult for a person of that age and that experience to achieve hojjat al-Islam.”
Professor Abdalla also said the term sheik had been adopted “by lay people or even backyard imams”.
“But in the proper scholarship tradition, the title sheik is for one who has attained a very high scholarship rank — and would be old,” he said.
Professor Abdalla told the inquest he had consulted “extensively” with imams from around the country, and none could recall seeing Monis at a mosque. He said it was likely that Monis rarely attended prayers.
“One would have to assume so, because even nominal people who attend a mosque on a regular basis would become known to the mosque,” he said.
Professor Abdalla was also asked if it was probable that Monis converted to Sunni Islam only to associate himself with Islamic State.
“ISIS has not only committed atrocities against Shiites but against Sunnis also,” he said….
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Monday, August 24, 2015
From The Australian: