The 16-hour siege at a Sydney cafe has ended with the deaths of at least three people, including the gunman, Iranian national Mohammad Hassan Manteghi, aka Man Haron Monis. Manteghi, who was a Shia cleric before recently converting to Sunni Islam, is also the author of a collection of poetry, Within and Without, published in 1996. The poems focus on love and betrayal, and at least in one, he complains about those who betrayed him, promising that one day God will punish them. In the same year, he claimed that his interpretation of Islam was "too liberal" for Iran, and took political asylum in Australia.
In an apparent attempt to re-invent himself, Manteghi recently denounced Shia Islam, and supported radical Sunni Islamist groups such as Islamic State. He changed his name to Man Haron Monis, and preached radical Sunni Islam. Reports from early on in the siege said he held a black banner associated with Sunni terrorist groups in the window of the café where he held 17 hostages.
Monis, who also called himself “Sheikh Haron,” was well known to Australian authorities. Last year he was convicted for being an accessory in the murder of his ex-wife. In October 2014, he was charged with more than 40 sexual offences and was on bail at the time of the siege. He was also sentenced to 300 hours of community service for sending offensive letters to the families of Australian men who had fought in the Middle East.
Monis, posted his views about Islam on his website before going to the Sydney café: "Islam is the religion of peace, that's why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia,” he wrote.