[Rant starts now:]
Dead Diggers' families abused
by Paul Maley
The Australian, October 22, 2009 12:00AM
THREE days after their son was killed by a Taliban rocket attack in Afghanistan, the Sher family received a phone call.
The caller, a woman who identified herself as Sister Amirah, asked if she could send a letter offering condolences over the death of 30-year-old Private Greg Sher, who had served with the Sydney-based 1st Commando Regiment.
Numb with grief and fielding dozens of telephone calls a day, the family agreed, then thought no more of their caller.
Until the letter arrived.
"A Jewish man who kills innocent Muslim civilians is not a pig, he is a thousand times worse,"
the letter said.
"Some people don't eat the meat of a pig, but they are dirtier than pig. What's the point if some people don't eat pork while their behaviour is worse than dirty animals? Why should we call a pig a hero?"
The Shers, a proud Jewish family, were appalled.
They did not know they were one of several Australian families whose sons had died in Afghanistan who were then targeted by a man calling himself "Sheik Haron".
Yesterday, the Australian Federal Police charged a 45-year-old man from the inner western suburb of Croydon Park with seven counts of using a postal or similar service to menace, harass or cause offence.
Sheik Haron or, as he is known on his website, "Ayatollah Manteghi Boroujerdi" is understood to have written to, phoned or otherwise harassed up to seven grieving families.
In his most egregious intrusion, one of his supporters confronted Breanna Till, the partner of Sergeant Brett Till who was killed while defusing a bomb in March.
The incident took place at her husband's funeral, after the supporter presented Ms Till with one of the sheik's poisonous letters.
When contacted by The Australian yesterday, Ms Till declined to discuss the matter. However, defence sources have confirmed the exchange took place.
Little is known about the sheik, who is understood to go by a number of names. His website contains dozens of letters, at least seven of which are addressed to the relatives of fallen Diggers.
Another letter on the site is addressed to the family of Australian trade official Craig Senger, who was killed when an offshoot of Jemaah Islamiah bombed the Marriott hotel in Jakarta in July.
Felix Sher, Greg's father, said the letter - a copy of which was sent via registered post and a second by regular mail - shocked his family, although he was more concerned about the effect the sheik's actions would have on other, more vulnerable relatives.
"Anti-Semitism isn't something that is strange to us," Mr Sher said.
"However, what really affected us was when we found out it went to people like Breanna Till, and people like that - that's what hurts more. Why would these people be subject to such abuse?"
John Worsley, whose son was killed in December 2007 following a clash with the Taliban, was also harassed by the sheik.
"We received a phone call the afternoon or the evening our boy was killed," Mr Worsley said. "He said words to the effect that he was sorry to hear that we'd lost our son, but as the conversation progressed it was, our country's involved in a war it shouldn't be involved in, in a country it shouldn't be in."
After the phone call, the letters started coming, three in total.
"They said our boy was a killer of innocents and things like that."
The AFP was tight-lipped about the case yesterday, although officers suggested their interest in the sheik was far from over, saying their inquiries were "ongoing".
As part of the investigation, officers from the Sydney Joint Counter-Terrorism Team executed search warrants on residential addresses in the Sydney suburbs of Croydon Park, Campsie, and Green Valley.
The charged man was granted conditional bail and will appear in court on November 10.
Dead Diggers' families abused | The Australian
F*cking SICK is pretty much the only description I can think of for such an act. Especially since I know both current & former serving members of 1 Commando Coy.
And the man protests he 'loves Australia'
Today was the court case. Suddenly, his abusive letters are in fact ones of 'peace'...
'Killer' letters to diggers' families 'like baskets of flowers'
November 10, 2009 - 12:57PM
A self-styled Muslim cleric, who sent letters to the families of Australian diggers who died in Afghanistan calling them "killers" and "murderers", said the letters were like a "basket of flowers" or a message of condolence that all Australians should send.
Man Haron Monis, 45, of Croydon Park, also known as Sheikh Haron, made the comments after appearing at the Downing Centre Local Court. He then chained himself to a railing outside the court with an Australian flag raised high above his head.
Mr Monis is charged with seven counts of using a postal service to menace, harass or cause offence, after he sent letters to grieving parents and wives of seven Australian soldiers.
During a brief appearance, his solicitor, Chris Murphy, told the court his client was a "peace activist" who had no criminal history.
"These letters don't contain threats; he is a peace activist," Mr Murphy said. "I used to be one during Vietnam."
Mr Monis's bail conditions were reduced to allow him to report one day a week, rather than three.
Outside court, he spoke at length in Arabic before telling reporters in English that the Australian Government had put its citizens at risk by fighting a war in Afghanistan.
"Mr John Howard, Mr Kevin Rudd ... are you Australian or American? If you are Australian you should care about Australia's interests rather than America's interests."
Mr Monis said the soldiers who fought and died in Afghanistan had "love" for their country but should only have been fighting if Australia was attacked directly.
He said the letters he sent were condolence letters with a message asking the families to pressure the Government to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This pen is my gun and these words are my bullets. Despite my poor English, I fight with these weapons, against oppression, to promote peace," Mr Manon said, pulling out an Australian flag.
"This is my jihad, I love Australia. I want safety for Australia, I don't want to be used our soldiers [sic]. I don't want Australians to be unsafe."
Mr Monis later pulled out a sign that asked Mr Rudd not to "kill Afghan civilians" otherwise "they will kill our civilians".
He will reappear in court in January.
'Killer' letters to diggers' families 'like baskets of flowers'
So firstly one of our brave soldiers was a "pig"....then when the case rolls around the same soldiers are just 'misguided patriots'? I mean WTF?
[Rant end <snip>]