It seems even his father now has doubts........
Arrested boxer's father warns of 'brainwashing'
Ahmed Elomar and his wife Najatt on their wedding day.
Photo: Adam Hollingworth
- Taghred Chandab
July 1, 2007
THE angry father of an Australian boxing champion arrested in Lebanon for alleged terrorist links has accused radical clerics of brainwashing young Muslims. Father-of-five Mamdouh Elomar slammed the clerics' hardline version of Islam, specifically targeting former Liverpool-based preacher Sheik Feiz Mohammed.
Mr Elomar said he had urged his children to stay away from Sheik Mohammed and the Global Islamic Youth Centre, where he had led prayers.
"Sheiks like Feiz ruin people," Mr Elomar said from his home in south-west Sydney.
"He is not a sheik; he is brainwashing all these children. I know my religion, so I can tell him when he is wrong, but these kids believe everything he says and think it's their religion. Someone needs to stop him.
"Today our kids are either at one extreme, partying or using drugs, or at another extreme with their religion.
That's what I have taught Ahmed. Mr Elomar's son Ahmed, 24, nicknamed "Trigger" in boxing circles, was captured and arrested in Lebanon last month with two other Australians, Ibrahim Sabouh and Mohammad Basal, and accused of having links to a terrorist cell in Lebanon. The men have not been charged.
He had been holidaying in Tri poli, Lebanon for two weeks with his wife, Najat, 25, and two sons, aged five and three, before his arrest 11 days ago. The young father was considering moving to Lebanon after falling in love with the country last year.
understands the featherweight champion, who is a nephew of Sydney terrorism suspect Mohammad Ali Elomar, left his wife's family home at 10am with several friends and was arrested several hours later. His father said it was still unclear if he was arrested in a raid, or on the street for not having identification.
"I know in my heart that my son has done nothing wrong," Mr Elomar said, "but if he has, I support the Lebanese Government and army. Ahmed is a good boy and cheeky, but he has a soft heart."
He said he had never heard of Ibrahim Sabouh but thought his son might have known Mohammad Basal.
Ahmed, also known as "the Lebanese cowboy" because of his passion for Arabian horses, was devastated when his uncle was arrested in November 2005.
"It's disappointing because my uncle's not like that," he said in 2005. "It's upset the whole family."
Meanwhile, Sheik Mohammed, who is working as a carpenter in Malaysia having earlier moved to Lebanon to escape constant ASIO surveillance, said through an associate last week that he was aware that he was wanted for questioning in Lebanon.
He said he was outraged by the allegations that he and his friends were linked to a terrorism cell.
"We should be entitled to say what we want so as long as we don't hurt anyone," he said through his associate.
"I know they [Lebanese authorities] want to talk to me, but I am not afraid because I haven't done anything. I will leave it in God's hands."
Sheik Mohammed also said he had spoken to a Lebanese citizen captured with the Australians who witnessed one of the men being beaten.
He said he wanted the Australian Government to try harder to help its citizens.
Source: The Sun-Herald