Islamic preacher knew ‘lone wolf’

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 30 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

In an interview on the 7:30 Report, Peter Lloyd investigates Junaid Thorne.

Extreme Islam...Junaid Thorne has been described by some as a dangerous mouthpiece for militant Islam. Picture: Daniel Wilkins. Source: News Corp Australia

CONTROVERSIAL Islamic preacher Junaid Thorne said the slain Melbourne man who was shot dead after stabbing two police officers was one of his followers.

Speaking to Peter Lloyd for the ABC's 7.30 program Thorne confirmed that Melbourne teenager, Numan Haider, did attend a number of his lectures.

He denied however, offering any advice to the teen in relation to joining rebel groups fighting in the Middle East.

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Trouble...Junaid Thorne said he does not offer advice to anyone seeking to travel overseas and fight in the Middle East. Picture: News Corp Source: News Corp Australia

"Anyone that approaches me asking me advice about going overseas, I automatically would alienate that person because I wouldn't trust anyone that asks me stuff like that," Thorne said.

"We know that can get you into trouble and we know that authorities, whether it be ASIO or others, they tend to entrap people."

After the death of Haider, Thorne took to Facebook criticising the actions of police, saying they had provoked the teenager after visiting his home earlier in the day.

When asked by ABC interviewer Peter Loyd about that post he explained, "it was mostly a message to the government that you know you have to back off from Muslims. The policies that you people are pushing it tends to backfire sooner or later. Muslims do feel targeted".

Controversial...Junaid Thorne has given a number of lectures around Australia speaking at Islamic centres known for their hard line views of Islam. Picture: Daniel Wilkins. Source: News Corp Australia

Described by some as a dangerous mouthpiece for militant Islam, Thorne has given a number of lectures around Australia.

He has toured the country twice this year speaking at Islamic centres known for their hard line views of Islam such as the iQraa Islamic centre in Brisbane, the now-closed Al Risalah in Bankstown, and Al Furqan in Melbourne.

Earlier this year Thorne gave a lecture in which he called Jews and Christians "filthy rapists".

He told Loyd that he was misunderstood and the comments had been taken out of context.

"If you go back to the lecture, I said we have our sisters being raped by filthy Jews and Christians. So I'm talking about the ones that actually do that."

Imprisoned...Junaid Thorne reunited with his brother, who was released from a political prison in Saudi Arabia, where he spent over 3 years for speaking against the corruption of the Saudi Government. Picture: Supplied. Source: Facebook

Previously using the Islamic State flag as his background when speaking Thorne could not say whether he was a supporter or not.

"If I were to vocalise my complete support to [Islamic State], that would get me into trouble. If I were to say I don't support them at all, that would be untrue."

Thorne's older brother, Shayden Thorne, was arrested on terrorism charges and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in a Saudi prison.

"In Saudi Arabia being accused of terrorism doesn't mean that you were plotting an attack or something. It is just because they sense you are a threat to the Government," he said.

Deported...Junaid Thorne was deported from Saudi Arabia last year for protesting his brother's imprisonment. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

Thorne moved to Saudi Arabia with his family when he was nine years old and stayed there for 14 years until he was deported last year for protesting his brother's imprisonment.

Counter-terrorism researcher Anne Aly has spoken out against Thorne, and said he was deliberately vocal and provocative.

"He's said some very offensive remarks about Jews and Christians and these are the kinds of ideas that don't bring Muslims together," she said.

She said that while he did not pose a direct threat, but his ideas were similar to the driving force behind groups like Islamic State.

"I think he is aspiring to be a person who influences people, influences young vulnerable minds. I think he's very misguided and extremely naive."

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