The son of one of Australia’s most prominent Islamic leaders has died in the Middle East in mysterious circumstances.
Ayman Omran, son of Melbourne-based Sheikh Mohammed Omran – also known as Abu Ayman – died recently in the Syrian conflict zone.
Sheikh Omran is the leader of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association of Australia (ASWJ), which has branches across the country and promotes a strict form of Sunni Islam.
In a statement, a spokesman for ASWJ confirmed that Ayman Omran had died, and said he had been providing “humanitarian aid” in the region.
“Ayman’s loss is truly tragic and we extend our dua’s and condolences to the family of Ayman and we ask Allah to shower them with his mercy and patience to endure his loss,” said the statement, from ASWJ vice-president Kalid Issa.
“We request the media and members of the public, respect the family of Ayman’s privacy and right to grieve with dignity and respect.
“All Muslims, together with well-wishing members of the wider Australian community and government send their condolences to our beloved Sheikhe Abu Ayman and the family of Ayman at this difficult time.
“ASWJ’s policy on travelling to the highly volatile, Syrian warzone remains unabated and the area is to be avoided.”
It is believed Sheikh Omran is travelling overseas and was informed of the death of the his son on Tuesday night.
ASWJ runs a large, well-attended centre in Coolaroo, in Melbourne’s western suburbs, and has considerable support among sections of Victoria’s Sunni Muslim community.
Disaffected members of the group – who left because they did not consider Sheikh Omran to be ‘hardline’ enough – left and formed the now-defunct Al Furqan Islamic studies centre.
That has been linked with a number of Australians who have either travelled to fight with the Islamic State group or been accused of terror offences in Australia.