But the social media postings of the 50-year-old who was killed in a police operation to rescue 17 people he had held hostage in a Sydney café indicate that he thought of himself as something of a martyr.
The self-styled Muslim cleric, who came to Australia as a refugee from Iran, complained of being tortured in prison for his political beliefs and said he was fighting for Islam and for peace.
“The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are,” he wrote recently on his website. In another post he wrote: “I am one of the witnesses for the barbarism of the Australian government.”
Monis was free on bail when he used a shotgun to take 17 hostages at the Lindt Chocolat Café. Australian authorities are now facing questions about why he was allowed out of jail given the seriousness of the charges against him.
“We are all outraged that this guy was on the street,” New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said. “We need to ensure that everything is done to learn from this.”
Although he took an interest in “Islamic State” , Monis’s social media postings do not make clear his level of support for them.