Suspected terrorist's brother rebuked

BLAIR ENSOR, TONY WALL AND ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2014

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The brother of a suspected terrorist was dressed down by concerned Muslim leaders after heckling a speaker at a Christchurch mosque.

Concerns were raised within the Muslim community about the behaviour of Nathan Jones, 28, when he objected to what the speaker was telling the congregation and heckled him, Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Dr Anwar Ghani told Fairfax Media.

Jones was asked to keep quiet and was later spoken to by senior officials at the Masjid al Noor on Deans Ave in Christchurch and told his behaviour was not acceptable, Ghani said.

"[Jones was] told that we don't really follow your thinking and if you have those views [then] keep it to yourself - we don't want to hear it here."

After the incident, which occurred about two years ago, Jones rarely visited the mosque to pray.

Nathan Jones is the younger brother of a suspected terrorist killed in a US drone strike. Fairfax Media investigations have found the pair grew up in Christchurch and converted from Christianity to Islam.

There is no suggestion Nathan Jones' comments were related to illegal activity. The Christchurch Islamic centre to which he belongs denounces terrorism.

Dual New Zealand-Australian national Daryl Anthony Jones, 30, also known as Muslim bin John, and Australian Christopher Havard, 27, were in a convoy hit by a missile in Yemen on November 19.

Media reports linked the duo to a terror group called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Havard's parents said he was radicalised in Christchurch, claims vehemently denied by the city's Muslim leaders.

Inquiries by Fairfax Media found Nathan Jones and a small group of other muslims had set up an information centre in the city to promote Salafism, a sect which follows literal, strict Islam.

Some Salafi followers in Western countries espouse jihad, but Nathan Jones and his friends denounced violence.

"Orthodox Islam does not teach us to kill innocent people and to blow up trains and strap bombs to ourselves," Abu Assiyah Hamzah, a man connected to the centre, said.

"[Daryl] was following an extremist ideology in the ways of [Osama] bin Laden and we never agreed with that ideology. We speak against it."

Nathan Jones, who is married to an Iraqi woman, declined to comment, as did his parents.

Ghani told Fairfax Media that the group involved with the information centre held beliefs that were "alien" to most members of the Islamic community.

"[Within] any faith you will have people whose interpretation is very narrow. It's just one of those things."

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The group were still welcome at mosques throughout the country as long as they did not promote extreme views, Ghani said.

Yesterday, Fairfax Media revealed that the Jones' mother was unhappy with the lack of information provided by the New Zealand Government about Daryl Jones' death last year.

She wanted to know what proof authorities had that her son was a terrorist, the source said.

Born in Australia, the Jones brothers and their family moved to New Zealand, their mother's home country, more than two decades ago.

The pair attended Aranui High School and were involved with Christian youth groups, but became disillusioned.

Daryl Jones moved to Sydney in about 2008 and converted to Islam within weeks of arriving. Nathan Jones, still in Christchurch, converted soon after with the help of some Saudi students.

Daryl Jones eventually changed his name to Muslim bin John, married a Somali woman and about 2009 headed to Saudi Arabia and then Yemen, ancestral home of Osama bin Laden and home base AQAP.

He told his family he wanted to teach English and help people.

A source said Daryl Jones was thrown in prison in Yemen because he was not a registered teacher, leaving his wife and four children stranded. His parents arranged for the family to come to Christchurch, where they remain.

The family last heard from Daryl Jones about May 2012; then lost all contact.

- The Press

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