Exclusive: Amir Millson seemed to have it all. Born in Perth to a white father and Malaysian mother, he was so good-looking and had such easy charm that he took himself to Malaysia where he won Cleo magazine’s Most Eligible Bachelor in 2010.
Millson’s transformation and shocking death as a battlefield jihadist in 2016 — revealed here for the first time — is difficult to fathom.
At the age of 27, he studied mass communications at Curtin University, did part-time modelling and planned to become a television presenter.
Videos he posted from the time show a laid-back, tuned-in, metrosexual. He told Cleo he wanted to be prime minister and thought Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom were a cool couple.
He married a Perth woman and they had a son. Then he started attending prayer groups and grew a goatee. By 2014, he viewed his former life as frivolous and without meaning.
Junaid Thorne, among other so-called Islamic instructors who hold extreme views, had appeared in his world.
It is hard to comprehend the conversion that saw him join the more than 220 Australians who’ve taken themselves to fight overseas (68 of whom have been killed).
Islamism poisons everything it touches. Just in case you get lulled into a false sense of security by the excuses about mental illness or marginality, here is a useful remainder that most terrorists and jihadis are neither; on average, they come from comfortable backgrounds, are well educated and have plenty of opportunities in life. Like many others, they nevertheless look for something missing in their lives, something transcendental, some meaning beyond the superficial, but unlike the most, they find it is an extremist and politicised version of a religion. They get into a bad company and under a bad influence, and end up choosing badly. Very badly.
Still, better six feet under in Syria than six feet tall in Perth. Lately, we seem to be having enough problems with Millson’s fellow Islamists who chose to stay and fight at home:
A woman in a burqa has furiously confronted people outside the Melbourne home of a man arrested for suspected terrorist offences today, calling them “cockroaches” and blocking entry to the premises with her vehicle. The angry scenes came after police swooped in on three Victorian men after they were caught allegedly preparing an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack in Melbourne, which officers say was being planned to “kill as many people as possible”.
Hanifi Halis, 21, of Greenvale, Ertunc Eriklioglu, 30, from Dallas, and Samed Eriklioglu, 26, of Campbellfield have all been charged with planning a terrorist attack and have since faced court.
The trio appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon, each charged with one count of acting in preparation for or in planning of a terrorist act, and were remanded in custody to face court in April for committal mention.
That’s hot on the hills of the Burke Street stabber and the conviction of four for the Christmas Melbourne CBD terror plot a few days ago. As unfair it is to the people of the Middle East, a one way plane ticket out of Australia seems like a cheap alternative for wannabe martyrs.