Sheik says letters were flowers of advice

A Muslim spiritual adviser, convicted of penning offensive letters to dead soldiers' families, says he will continue to offer his opinion.

A self-styled sheikh who penned "grossly offensive" letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers says he will continue to send messages.

Next time, though, he'll hand deliver his "flowers of advice" rather than send them through the post.

Man Monis, also known as Sheik Haron, was sentenced on Friday to 300 hours of community service and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond for 12 counts of using a postal service to cause offence.

After his sentencing, Monis said his High Court challenge proved that "using postal service made it illegal".

Describing his letters as "flowers of advices (sic)", he said "from now on when I want to advise people not to kill civilians I should do it by hand delivery".

"It is the duty of everyone to advise people not to kill innocent people," he said when asked if he planned to send more messages.

His co-offender and partner, 34-year-old Amirah Droudis, was also sentenced to a two-year bond for aiding and abetting him.

In handing down the decision at Sydney's District Court, Judge Mark Marien said Monis, 49, had sent a host of "grossly offensive" letters to the grieving families of seven soldiers killed in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2009.

Monis, a self-employed spiritual adviser and astrologer, also wrote to the family of trade official Craig Senger, who was killed in the 2009 Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta.

In the letters, Monis likened soldiers to murderers and killers, and in one letter said the digger was going to hell.

In a DVD sent to the widow of Lance Corporal Jason Marks, Droudis had said: "We shouldn't be honouring them as we don't honour Hitler's soldiers."

In another instance, the court heard Droudis approached a soldier's loved ones at his funeral.

"It is impossible that the offender Monis and Droudis would not have realised that the material being sent to the families was extremely distressing and hurtful," Mr Marien said.

Monis's sentencing marks the end of protracted legal proceedings, which included an unsuccessful High Court challenge to the charges.

Senger's mother Joan Senger said when she received Monis's letter she "just wasn't in a mental state to cope".

"That's why it was such a serious thing," she told reporters.

Mrs Senger said she hoped the sentence would deter others and prevent something similar happening again.

Of Monis she said: "I just think he doesn't think like normal people think."

3 min read
Published 6 September 2013 at 3:57pm
Source: AAP