Malaysia Airlines - MH122 Bomb scare - Muhammad Ali Arif

Muhammad Ali Arif, a Pakistani-Australian man was the person at the centre of a bomb threat on Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 from Sydney to Malaysia yesterday.

The drama began when Muhammad became disruptive within a short time after the flight had taken off from Sydney.

A video posted to X (formerly Twitter) showed him confronting a flight attendant, repeating he was a “slave of Allah”.

“My name is Mohammed, slave of Allah,” he said.

“Are you a slave of Allah? Are you? Say it. Say it! Are you a slave of Allah?” Mr Arif continued, seemingly asking a flight attendant.

That attendant could be heard replying: “Yes I am”.

He reportedly also said he had a bomb in his bag when he faced questioning from airplane staff.

The Australian Federal Police said it was responding to an “emergency situation” after the man stood up with a backpack across his chest and started ranting to airplane staff.

The plane was forced to return to Sydney with the passengers stuck at the tarmac for more than three hours while the security personnel were sorting things out.

Muhammad was charged on arrest for allegedly claiming to have explosives on board the Malaysian Airlines flight yesterday at Sydney Airport.

A 45-year-old Muhammed is, according a Linkedin listing, a professional architect from Pakistan’s University of Lahore but works as a security staff in Canberra.

He has been charged with one count of false statement about threat to damage of aircraft, and not complying with cabin crew’s safety instruction.

Each charge carries a maximum ten-year prison sentence.

This morning when he was due to appear before a magistrate, according to The Australian, refused to come out of his cell.

“Apparently he’s refusing to come out of his cell,” Magistrate Greg Grogin of the Downing Centre Local Court said.

“They would have to extract him if he’s to come before the court.”

The court had to be adjourned for later in the day.

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In a surprise move, the court also learned that Muhammad, who had been provided with a lawyer from the Legal Aid, suddenly managed to arrange his private legal representation.

Muhammed studied at the National College of Arts Lahore in Pakistan.

During his student days, he was also involved in the mime society, the drama club and the puppeteer society during his time at university, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“He is known for his team leader qualities, creativity, functionality and perfection; keen observation and an eye for detail,” the profile reads.

Passengers reported Muhammad Ali Arif began praying loudly when the flight took off and it soon escalated into a “pretty scary” situation.

The flight attendants however, did a “great job just trying to keep Muhammad calm”.

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