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‘Islam inherently violent’, ‘Quran plagiarised’: What Musa Cerantonio, an ISIS terrorist in Australia who abandoned Islam after 17 years of converting to it, said

Cerantonio stated that practically all of the programmes in jails in Australia and throughout the world are a waste of time. They present counter-arguments to jihadism that jihadists can readily rebut. He considered the idea of exposing terrorists to "true Islam" idiotic.

Musa Cerantonio, a former Australian Islamist preacher who persuaded a large number of foreign terrorists to join jihadi terror group in Syria, recently recounted his experience when he openly abandoned Islam. The background behind Cerantonio renouncing Islam and reporting it to the author of the article has been detailed in an article published in The Atlantic.

Cerantonio turned to Islam at the age of 17 after being born Robert Cerantonio into an Irish-Catholic family. According to Philippine authorities, Cerantonio travelled to the Philippines in 2013 and used YouTube to advocate for jihad and celebrate the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He was deported in July 2014 following his actions.

Cerantonio and four others were detained by Australian authorities in May 2016 for allegedly planning to sail to Indonesia with the intention of joining ISIS in Syria. Cerantonio was already communicating with ISIS terrorists on social networks for a long time before his arrest. He often used social media to demand the killing of US officials and to laud Syrian extremists.

Cerantonio repudiated ISIS and admitted his role in fuelling jihad in June 2021. He informed Graeme Charles Arthur Wood, an American staff writer for The Atlantic, that he had forsaken ISIS in a letter sent from Port Phillip Prison in Melbourne last year.

Dedication to tyrannical death cults led by suicidal maniacs is bad enough

In the article at The Atlantic, Graeme Wood wrote, “In block letters—the Arabic transcriptions neatly bedecked with diacritical marks, all in the right places—he explained his journey back from jihad.” Cerantonio stated in the letter that for the previous 17 years, he was completely wrong. “Seeing individuals dedicate themselves to tyrannical death cults led by suicidal maniacs is bad enough. Knowing that I may have contributed to their choices is terrible,” he wrote.

When ISIS advanced, Wood notes, “this neofundamentalist autodidact” possessed both the knowledge and the on-camera charm required to persuade thousands of other Muslims to go to Syria and Iraq to kill and die for the Islamic caliphate.

Quran is plagiarised

While in jail, Cerantonio began to read the Quran more thoroughly, focusing on the passages that perplexed him the most. Among these was the person known as Dhu-l Qarnayn, or “the two-horned one,” who appears in the 18th chapter of the Quran and is sometimes misidentified as Alexander the Great. Cerantonio discovered no connection between Dhu-l Qarnayn and the actual Alexander, but he did detect connections between Dhu-l Qarnayn and an Aramaic version of Alexander’s tale that was substantially fabricated. He assumed that the Aramaic version had replicated the Quran, but after getting a copy and deciphering it for himself, he came to the conclusion that the contrary was more plausible.

Cerantonio went on and added, “Realizing that Dhu-l Qarnayn was not at all a real person but was rather based on a fictional account of Alexander the Great instantly left me with only one possible conclusion: The Quran was not divinely inspired.”

Islam is intrinsically violent

“Of course, I would have preferred to have discovered all that 17 years ago and avoided much trouble,” he added. Cerantonio has so ditched not only ISIS but also Islam and religion in general.

He indicated that he was hesitant to go public with his defection because his detractors will say he was just trying to get out of prison early and not that he is fearful of being murdered by the Islamic jihadists.

When questioned why Alexander’s impersonation convinced him that ISIS was evil yet the group’s techniques of mass massacres and sex enslavement had never turned him off, he stated that the latter was coherent with the religion, but Alexander’s impersonation failed logical standards on its own terms. He was attempting to make the point that Islam is intrinsically violent and that no one should expect anything less.

There is nothing called true Islam

Cerantonio stated that practically all of the programmes in jails in Australia and throughout the world are a waste of time. They present counter-arguments to jihadism that jihadists can readily rebut. He considered the idea of exposing terrorists to “true Islam” idiotic.

Concerning author Richard Dawkins, whom he follows since becoming athiest, Cerantonio noted that he disagrees with what Dawkins says since he gets things incorrect when writing about Islam. “Dawkins quotes a scripture that claims martyrs will be given 72 virgins in paradise. That hadith is not authentic!” Cerantonio voiced his displeasure in a Skype session with Wood. He claimed that opponents of ISIS, even intellectual ones, become ignorant when fighting jihadism and mistakenly believe that the jihadists themselves are stupid.

ISIS deserves destruction

Cerantonio claimed that, thus far, nothing appears to have worked better than destroying ISIS on the battlefield, razing its caliphate, and encouraging its adherents to contemplate if God could be giving them a “message in the form of U.S. aerial bombardment.” 

Cerantonio recounted persuading two jihadists by explaining evolutionary mechanisms to them. He went at them hard and laid out how a world without a supernatural Creator would appear, how it might make sense, and how it may be an alternative to their preconceived opinions.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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