3 stinkers in one sentence:
“Australian” he is not; “aid worker” he is not; dead he may be, but who invented the “crossfire?”
Kickboxing jihadist bites the dust:
A MELBOURNE kickboxing champion has been killed in the conflict in Syria, the man’s family have confirmed. Â (Newscom)
The Department of Foreign Affairs is investigating reports Roger Abbas, from Meadow Heights, was killed in the war-torn nation after news of his death ran rife on social media.
Islamic Society of Victoria vice-president Baha Yehia said Mr Abbas, 23, went to Syria alone, through the Turkish border, to volunteer as an aid worker last month.
Mr Yehia said there were conflicting reports as to how he had died.
“We believe he was caught in the crossfire while he was doing aid work,” he said.
It is unknown exactly where or when Mr Abbas died, but it is believed to be in recent days.
It comes after Sydney Muslim sheik Mustapha Al Majzoub was killed in a rocket attack while carrying out charity work in Syria in August.
His family dismissed initial reports that the sheik was leading a rebel platoon.
Likewise, Mr Yehia dispelled speculation that Mr Abbas was fighting alongside a rebel faction battling the Syrian Government.
“He doesn’t have the experience. You can’t just go and pick up a gun and expect to know how to use it. It doesn’t work like that,” he said.
“For someone to pick up arms you have to have a background of training. You’re fighting trained military people.”
Mr Yehia said Mr Abbas regularly prayed at Preston Mosque, from where many other people had volunteered in the civil war-plagued Middle Eastern nation.
Mr Abbas’s brother, Ibrahim, said the International Kick Boxing Federation Australian and Victorian middleweight champion was such a soft, easygoing person that “even his opponents would testify to that”.
“He was the kind of person who would be willing to help anyone,” Ibrahim said.
Mehedin Abbas said his cousin Roger was a hero who died helping refugees.
“Roger Abbas passed away aiding the people that needed it … my cousin is a hero in my eyes and all my family and friends eyes,” Mr Abbas wrote in a post on Facebook.
“Money, cars, food, water etc, he was trying to give that to the community of Syria on (sic) the refugee camps.”
Mr Abbas said Roger was a man of courage, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
“Death leaves a heartache noone can heal, love leaves a memory noone can steal,” he wrote.
In a separate wall post, Mr Abbas said his cousin was a role model who left his kickboxing career for God.
“U are a role model! U left ur kickboxing career and everything else for the sake of Allah!” he said.
Friends expressed condolences in comments.
“Inshallah he’s a martyr who died for the the sake of Allah,” one person said.
“We’ll all be kicking it with him in heaven cuz,” another comment said.
A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman could not confirm his death but urged Australians not to travel to Syria.
“We are aware of media reports that an Australian man may have been killed in Syria. The department has no information to confirm these reports, but is seeking to investigate their veracity,” the spokeswoman said.
“We do not have a diplomatic mission, or permanent diplomatic presence, in Syria.”