The principled Parramatta Mosque chair Neil El-Kadomi

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People claiming Islamic leaders do not speak out against extremism, should consider the diligent efforts of Parramatta mosque chairman Neil El-Kadomi, writes Peter Wicks.

IN AN article earlier this week, I discussed the teenage terrorist that murdered a NSW police employee in Parramatta last week.

It goes without saying that there has been a lot of talk about a number of issues since. How does a 15-year-old become so radicalised? How does a 15-year-old obtain a gun? How did he slip under the radar that George Brandis and Tony Abbott have been assuring us is so powerful? For all their talk, a child managed to beat the all-powerful radar.

All of these are valid questions and certainly need to be explored in-depth. However, they need to be explored in a constructive manner that is respectful to all concerned if they are to serve any purpose at all.

This is why I am concerned with the tone of some media organisations when dealing with the head of Parramatta’s Mosque, Neil El-Kadomi.

Let's be upfront, a Mosque or Islamic prayer hall is a faith-based enterprise, just as a church, temple, or Hill$ong an auditorium is. Faith based institutions do not have a tendency to knock back those who come to worship, nor do they tend to make judgments of them.

The Vatican was even quite content dealing with the Nazi hierarchy while they were gassing Jews by the million.

Neil El-Kadomi stated when interviewed that if he knew of any radicalised Muslims attending his Mosque he would report them to police. Some may shrug that off, but that really is quite a statement.

In that statement, he is in effect saying that any act of terror is not only an attack on society at large, but is also an attack on the Islamic faith. For this reason, he will not tolerate it — and rightly so.

We may have no choice but to take him at his word, but why shouldn’t we? He has co-operated with police every step of the way, he has assisted police in identifying the killer and helping find the killers family despite not knowing him.

Some media and news agencies however appear to be seeking to make an easy target of El-Kadomi and take the predictable path of saying he has provided a meeting place for extremists.

It is worth noting that El-Kadomi has an “Order Of Australia” and is dedicated to his community. As the picture of him and his family below shows, they hardly have the appearance of extremists and neither of his daughters have any Islamic headwear at all.

If we compare the attitude of El-Kadomi to that of a Christian church, there is a distinct difference in attitude. While the El-Kadomi’s mosque would report a radical to police, a Christian Church would welcome him with open arms, they’d even take money from him if possible. If it were Hill$ong, they’d no doubt try to set up a direct debt system for ongoing donations. If it were a Catholic Church, even if they confessed to murder, they’d be told to say some Hail Mary’s and then be welcome to sit on the front pew.

While a mosque seeks to be open with police and the press about suspicions, even a royal commission finds it hard to get past the lies and attempts to cover up the sexual abuse of children on an industrial scale by the clergy.

As I mentioned in my last post, there has been talk around the school that the teenage terrorist attended as there have been other students from there under the eye of detectives for their radical views.

So what sort of religious message are they picking up at the school?

In NSW, a shady deal was contrived out of desperation between the religious extremist Fred Nile and his Christian Democrat Party and a Coalition needing every vote it could muster in the upper house. That deal saw Nile get his attempt to religiously indoctrinate kids back into schools with ethics classes turfed out and scripture reintroduced.

Could the shooting be a result of anger at attempts to religiously indoctrinate at school? The last place the young terrorist went before shooting Curtis Cheng was the school, not the mosque, as many are reporting.

Whatever it was that triggered this barbaric act by a teenager, one thing is certain — we need to find the real reasons for his extremism, not the easy scapegoats.

I note that as I write this, Fairfax have published a great article by Eryk Bagshaw on El-Kadomi on his tough words to those attending his Mosque.

Well done Eryk, I hope others follow your lead.

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