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News & Politics News & Politics

"That's My Boy!" Father of Australian Boy Holding Severed Head Is a Diagnosed Schitzophrenic

Posted by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:08 AM
  • 10 Replies

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updated 9:58 PM EDT 08.12.14
Dad of boy holding severed head schizophrenic
By Hilary Whiteman, CNN


(CNN) - A proud father's boast accompanies an image the U.S. secretary of state on Tuesday called "one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever displayed."

"That's my boy," Khaled Sharrouf wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of his 7-year-old son using both hands to hold up a man's severed head.

The photo, since removed from Twitter, was reportedly taken in Raqqa, a Syrian city in the stranglehold of Islamic State (IS) militants, where the Australian father has taken his young family to join the fight.

Condemnation has been swift and on Tuesday included scathing criticism from Australia's most senior Islamic cleric, Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed.

"It is utterly deplorable for extremists to use Islam as a cover for their crimes and atrocities," Mohamed said in a statement to CNN from the Australian National Imams Council.

"Their misguided actions do not represent the overwhelming majority of Muslims who emulate the pure teachings of Islam such as justice, mercy and freedom."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the image underscored "the degree which ISIL (now Islamic State) is so far beyond the pale with respect to any standard that we judge even terrorist groups."

"That child should be in school; that child should be out learning about the future; that child should be playing with other kids, not holding a severed head and out in the field of combat," he said.

Kerry spoke at a news conference with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who also presented the image as evidence of the increasing threat of "homegrown terrorists."

"There are a significant number of Australian citizens who are taking part in activities in Iraq and parts of Syria: extremist activities, terrorist activities," Bishop said.

"Our fear is that they will return home to Australia as hardened homegrown terrorists and seek to continue their work here in Australia."

Who is Khaled Sharrouf?

Born in Australia in February 1981, Sharrouf is the son of Lebanese parents who had a violent relationship with his father and spent most of his youth in and out of local courts.

Details of Sharrouf's troubled teenage years were revealed in court documents from his sentencing in the New South Wales Supreme Court in 2009 on terror-related charges.

According to the documents, Sharrouf was expelled from school in Year 9 for violent conduct and "was soon drawn into bad company."

He appeared before the courts on a number of minor charges between 1995 and 1998, when he was also regularly taking amphetamines, LSD and ecstasy. The drugs were likely to have been a "significant factor" in the emergence of schizophrenia, the documents said.

Sydney attack plot

Sharrouf worked as a laborer in the building industry for a time but survived mostly on a disability support pension until his arrest in November 2005 on terror-related charges.

He was one of nine alleged terrorists detained after a series of raids on homes and businesses as part of Operation Pandanus, an investigation into plans to bring holy war to Australia.

Sharrouf pleaded guilty to possessing batteries and clocks knowing that they were going to be used to make explosives for a terrorist act. However, Sharrouf's hearing was delayed after he was found to be unfit to stand trial due to mental illness.

In November 2007, a court-appointed specialist said he was suffering an "acute exacerbation of the illness schizophrenia." He was put on medication, and in early 2009, it was deemed he had made a "remarkable recovery."

Sharrouf was sentenced to five years and three months in prison. However, as he'd already served most of that time while awaiting trial, he was released from prison after just three weeks.

'A chance for a fresh start'

During the sentencing, the court heard an affidavit from his wife, Tara Nettleton, who said she and Khaled had talked about what they wanted to do once he was released from prison. At the time, the couple had four children.

"He often tells me how sad he feels that he has missed out on so much of his children's life and that he can't wait to be able to return home so that he can have a chance to make up to his children all the time that was missed and get to know them again," the statement said.

"We often talk about moving out to the country and living on a farm so that we get away from everything and get the chance to have a fresh start," Nettleton added.

It's not clear what Nettleton thinks of her husband's decision to take their children to Syria. However, her estranged father, Peter Nettleton, said he was devastated by the image of his grandson holding a head.

"I'm scared for the children," he told News Corp. "What life are they going to have now?"

Was Sharrouf further radicalized in prison?

Less than five years after his release from prison, it's clear that Sharrouf has not abandoned the ideology that saw him jailed.

nwp.org

by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:08 AM
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Replies (1-10):
NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:11 AM

We need to better address the mentally ill. It is so often that the children get hurt....be it this poor boy in the video or all the kids at Sandy Hook. Blame guns or religion, this is a problem with mental illness. 

nwp.org

NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:59 AM
1 mom liked this

Mmmmm.....folks were all over this when they wanted to blame Islam for this man's behavior. 

NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 13, 2014 at 2:17 PM

BUMP!

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Aug. 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM
1 mom liked this
You won't convince people who want to see something that what they think they see is not so.
NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 13, 2014 at 4:46 PM
1 mom liked this
But aren't these the same folks who were explaining to us that it had nothing to do with super easy access to guns everywhere but was completly the product of mental illness that is responsible for mass murder in the US?

And aren't they also constantly saying that Muslims do not speak out against atrocities?

Yes... Deafening silence here.


Quoting romalove: You won't convince people who want to see something that what they think they see is not so.
Ms.KitKat
by Silver Member on Aug. 14, 2014 at 8:46 AM
1 mom liked this

wow- just w.o.w.

I think he is a sociopath! 

He was expelled from school at a young age; he has a criminal history, he is "drawn to the wrong people" yet he managed to marry who seemingly appears to be a "normal" wife and raise a family together but still he managed to take their children to a war zone. He presented as "recovered" from schizophrenia, an illness for which there is no recovery. Not today anyway.

All of this screams sociopath. 

I still go back OP to my premise which I will try to elaborate; that it is not so much the religion but the 'radicalism." The religion just offers a platform, a conduit to carry out atrocious acts of violence, murder and inhumanity. It is like Islam is the flavor of the month and if not for Islam it would be some other platform. Just like the Imam stated, Islam is a cover for their crimes.

Sadly, there is no cure from sociopathy either.

Ms.KitKat
by Silver Member on Aug. 14, 2014 at 8:49 AM

It is far easier to blame Islam and then just move along

SQUIRREL! ..........

Quoting NWP:

Mmmmm.....folks were all over this when they wanted to blame Islam for this man's behavior. 


NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Aug. 14, 2014 at 9:13 AM
1 mom liked this
Agreed. Combine radicalization with mental illness and terrible things happen.

I am unfortunately not surprised that those who are the first to point away from better laws to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill mass murders towards placing the blame solely on mental illness are ignoring its impact here and placing the blame on solely on religion.

This man is sick and I am so sad for his family.


Quoting Ms.KitKat:

wow- just w.o.w.

I think he is a sociopath! 

He was expelled from school at a young age; he has a criminal history, he is "drawn to the wrong people" yet he managed to marry who seemingly appears to be a "normal" wife and raise a family together but still he managed to take their children to a war zone. He presented as "recovered" from schizophrenia, an illness for which there is no recovery. Not today anyway.

All of this screams sociopath. 

I still go back OP to my premise which I will try to elaborate; that it is not so much the religion but the 'radicalism." The religion just offers a platform, a conduit to carry out atrocious acts of violence, murder and inhumanity. It is like Islam is the flavor of the month and if not for Islam it would be some other platform. Just like the Imam stated, Islam is a cover for their crimes.

Sadly, there is no cure from sociopathy either.

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Aug. 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM

BUMP!

Della529
by Bronze Member on Aug. 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM
I wonder about his parents. What are their ages? How long did they live in Lebanon? What area?

Not blaming or anything, just curious.
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