|Portrait of Abdul Numan Haider from his Facebook page|
The 18-year-old attacker, Abdul Numan Haider, a recent graduate from Springvale Islamic College, "planned to behead officers and post the images online". While his attack on the police was done with a small knife, he had a larger knife as well as an Islamic State flag on his person. He was shot to death by police from the Joint Counter Terrorism team (blending Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police) after he stabbed two of them.
Quotes from the Melbourne Age report today:
- Police say he was part of a small group of Islamic Melbourne men who have been sharing violent hate messages. His passport was cancelled as police became concerned although they chose to meet him outside a police station to avoid inflaming the situation...
- Police believe the plan was to follow instructions from the international terror group Islamic State and behead the officers, cover the bodies in the flag and then take photos to post via the internet.
- He had been the subject of police investigations for the past three months as he had become increasingly radical.
- Schoolfriends said he showed no signs of violent behaviour in secondary college.
|Abdul Numan Haider again|
- Haider, whose family are from Afghanistan, had also been associated with the radical Islamic group called Al-Furqan... Based in Springvale, in Melbourne's south-east, associates of Al-Furqan were the targets of terrorism raids by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police in 2012.
- Chief Commissioner Lay said Haider attacked a police officer who tried to shake his hand outside the station, and then stabbed another officer, about 7:40pm (AEST) on Tuesday. "When our police members have approached this young man, one's extended his hand to shake his hand and the response has been he's been stabbed in the arm," he said. "The attacker then turned on the second police member and stabbed him three or four times in the body and in the head. The first wounded member has then shot and killed the young man."
- Premier Denis Napthine said it was important that the incident did not divide the community. "Let me make it very, very clear, one of the greatest strengths, one of the greatest assets we have here in Victoria is our harmonious, diverse, multi cultural, multi-faith community," Dr Napthine said. "We shouldn't let a single incident divide that. We need to show each other respect, be tolerant and remain united... It is imperative that we do all that we can to reassure all members of the Victorian community that everything is being done to protect our safety and making sure that our community continues to work together as a whole Victorian community..." [source]
- Leaders of Melbourne's Islamic community have criticised police over their investigation into the fatal shooting. Gaith Krayem from the Islamic Council of Victoria said police were quick to jump to conclusions... "There needs to be a proper process as there always should be when police are involved in a fatality. What we do know is that there's an 18-year-old young man who is dead this morning, there are two police officers in hospital, there is a family who is grieving." Mr Krayem said the public needed to reserve their judgement until a full and objective investigation has taken place. [source]
- "Unfortunately we've had inappropriate language coming from very senior politicians, including the prime minister... It increases the tension." [source]
- "Immediately, individuals such as this unfortunately are given these labels of a radical, or a terrorist, or an extremist," he said. "Unfortunately, because of the environment we're in, as soon as you label somebody like that, people don't want to then question what occurred. We don't know really what happened when this young man arrived at the police station." [source]
|The Al-Furqan centre in Springvale South, a Melbourne|
neighbourhood: "Islamic Centre promoting Tawheed (monotheism)
based on the Quran and Sunnah (According to the way of the
Prophet (Peace be upon him), his companions and
righteous predecessors)" [website]
Several reports today say Haider was part of a radical community called Al-Furqan led by Harun Mehicevic, also known as Abu Talha. The Al-Furqan sheikh's background [source]:
- He came to Australia from Bosnia as a young adult in the mid-1990s, and... has a Pakistani-born wife and six children... Somewhere along the way, Mehicevic turned to a conservative and purist form of Islam known Salafism. He became a follower of hardline Melbourne cleric Sheikh Mohammed Omran, and associated with Abdul Nacer Benbrika, who is serving a 15-year jail term for planning a terrorist attack in Melbourne in 2005.
- Sources within the Islamic community have described him as a ''cult leader'' and ''charismatic but totally delusional''. They say he has gathered a multi-ethnic group of 20 to 30 young men around him, and they are fiercely loyal to him. ''He tells them exactly what they want to hear,'' a source said. ''Hate the kuffar [unbelievers]; hate the system.''
- Although some of [his followers] are of Bosnian origin, they wear clothes of Pakistani or even Saudi Arabian appearance as a way of proclaiming their hardline beliefs.
- Some families were so concerned about the hold Mehicevic had over their children they moved overseas to get them away from his influence.
Speaking outside a Springvale flat near the Al-Furqan bookshop, the controversial sheik said the group was working on a statement to be released later today. [Melbourne Herald-Sun, today]