Aussie surfer is now the Coast’s first Imam
(And he lies like a typical Muselmaniac)
Imam Zainadine Johnson’s bearded face may be familiar to many Coast residents.
The 43-year-old spent his late teens and a significant part of his 20s living at Mooloolaba and Yaroomba.
He went by the name Zean Johnson.
His nickname was Zonk.
He played bass guitar in a band called Grinder, with highlights including supporting Powderfinger when they played a gig at the former Mooloolaba Hotel in the late 1990s.
But a big change in his life prompted a move with his young family in 2004 to Middle Eastern and North African countries considered by many westerners to be no-go zones.
His studies took him to Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Turkey as well as Indonesia.
He learned Arabic so he could deepen his studies of Islam and Sharia.
Zainadine Johnson returned to Australia last month to take up a position as the Sunshine Coast’s first Imam.
It is a paid, full-time role.
As far as he knows, he is the first white Australian revert to take on a full-time paid Imam job in Australia.
The role came about after members of the Sunshine Coast Muslim community asked him to be their Imam.
“I did always have in my heart I would like to come back here and work with the Muslim community,” Imam Zainadine said.
“I do have a close connection with the Sunshine Coast.
“I couldn’t think of a better place to be.”
Muslim faithful currently gather at a Kawana community centre for prayer but plan to have the Sunshine Coast’s first mosque up and running in Maroochydore by January.
Imam Zainadine said his community, made up by many worshippers who had been Muslims for life, had been very accepting.
But he felt he would have to prove himself and his knowledge of the faith to them.
“Especially when you are a white, Aussie revert.
“At the moment I seem to be adhering to the task.”
His vision for the role is to break down barriers and help people understand Islam.
“I hope to build bridges between our Muslim society and the rest of the people of the Sunshine Coast.
Muslim Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb explained:
“The chasm between Islam and Jahiliyyah [the society of unbelievers] is great, and a bridge is not to be built across it so that the people on the two sides may mix with each other, but only so that the people of Jahiliyyah may come over to Islam.”
“I hope to be able to educate people on the religion of Islam so they at least understand it, because it is misunderstood.
“I also want to show people ‘hey we Muslims are normal people just trying to live life’.”
Its not “normal” calling for the slaughter of those who don’t believe like you, imam. And no, Muslims are not “normal people” who are engaged in live and let live.
His focus within the Muslim community will be on young people and keeping them away from extremism, drugs and other vices.
That’s what they tell our politclowns, who throw money at it.
He will conduct youth lessons and outdoor activities such as bush walks.
“I’m a scout from a long way back.”
He is aware of strong opposition within the Sunshine Coast community to the establishment of the mosque.
“I say to them first of all, let’s stop focusing on the negative and focus on the positive,” Imam Zainadine said.
He plans to raise money for Coast community groups which help people living with disability and disease.
“I would prefer to focus on trying to help these people.”
He encouraged those opposed to the mosque to do the same, saying they could work together with people of the Muslim community.
Imam Zainadine also encouraged people with fears of Sharia law to speak with him.
“Most people don’t know what Sharia is.
“Sharia law is not only about cutting hands and stoning people.
“Come and visit me and find out what Sharia law is before you make your judgement.”
He said he had no intention or even opportunity to implement Sharia law on the Sunshine Coast.
“I live my life by Sharia law, yes, but it is not the law of this country.
“Sharia law doesn’t come from force – it comes from people accepting it.
Submit already, infidel!
“We are not here to change anyone’s way of life.”
Can you believe that? The chutzpah!
He said women wearing bikinis were not a part of his religion but acknowledged they were a part of Australian culture.
“I would say women wearing hijabs is another form of Australian life.”
Imam Zainadine also offered his thoughts on violence committed in the name of Islam.
“Muslims, in general, are just focused on living their lives as a Muslim and if they were left alone to do that we would probably see peace in the world.”
The peace of Islam is the peace of the grave.
He said while most people (including Muslims) didn’t like deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, invasions such as that of Iraq were not justified.
“This is what causes the feeling of hatred in certain people.”
However, he said the majority of Muslims around the world were just focused on living their lives and pleasing their lord.
“In general, they don’t have hatred in their hearts.”
The surfing imam lies again:
“ Muhammad is the messenger of allah. And those with him are harsh against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves… (Quran 48:29)”
Imam Zainadine is also looking forward to continuing his study of martial arts.
He is currently learning Pencak Silat, a discipline originating from Indonesia, but has previously learned the Japanese discipline of Ninjitsu.
The lack of decent waves since he arrived on the Coast has been a bit disappointing but he is looking forward to brushing up on his surfing skills.
“Once the waves are up I’m sure I won’t be able to sit still.
“I’ll see you out there.”