GP and Muslim community leader to stand for parliament
Dr Rifi denies there has been a rise in radical ideas in his community around Lakemba in Western Sydney, the heartland of Australia’s largest Muslim population.
“The action of Sharrouf was the action of a very sick person,” he said, referring to western Sydney-raised Khaled Sharrouf, the Islamic State terrorist fighter who posted on the internet last weekend a photograph of his young son in Syria holding a soldier’s severed head.
“It is well documented that he suffered from schizophrenia, and he had a troubled youth,” Dr Rifi told MO. “That does not excuse his action, but it can explain it.
“He says he is fighting for Islam, but he doing more harm to his family, his community and his religion. It is a tragedy.”
However, the father of five said young Muslims were increasingly exposed to false teachings spread via the internet, and he and other moderate community leaders