Six driven to wage jihad, court told
Jihad by arson the next big thing?
* But remember: Islam is a “Religion of Peace”, Jihad is “inner struggle”,- its only a “tiny minority of extremists”- we cannot paint all Muslims with one brush and Islam is not a monolith and….
SIX Sydney men accused of conspiring to commit a terrorist act were strong adherents of the Islamic faith, driven by religion and ideology to carry out violent jihad against the Australian public, potential jurors have been told.
From Andrew Bolt:Â Extremists meet
Professor Steve Keen has hadÂ plenty of eager takersÂ – not least at the ABC – for his message that our economy is doomed. But few audiences have been asÂ keen to hear himÂ as theÂ militant Islamist groupÂ Hizb ut-Tahrir:Â
What an opportunity Keen missed to put the crowd wise on the “Islamic alternative” to capitalism.
Crown Prosecutor Richard Maidment SC today addressed the first 220 potential jurors for the NSW Supreme Court trial at the Parramatta court complex.Â
Bradley Umar Sariff Baladjam, 31, Khaled Cheikho, 35, Moustafa Cheikho, 31, Mohamed Ali Elomar, 43, Abdul Rakib Hasan, 39, and Mohammed Omar Jamal, 24, are accused of conspiring to commit acts in preparation for a terrorist act.Â
Mr Maidment said the men were conspiring to carry out acts of violence, including the detonation of explosives and use of firearms, between July 2004 and November 2005.Â
“The crown alleges that each of these men were apparently strong adherents to the Islamic faith and were each motivated by a particular religious, political or ideological cause – being the pursuit of violent jihad – which each of the accused apparently believed was founded in the teachings of the Islamic faith,” he told the jury pool.Â
“In essence, that meant that the accused were motivated to carry out violent activities against members of the Australian community as a whole, in pursuit of their ideals.”Â
Mr Maidment said the kind of terrorist acts contemplated by the men included the detonation of an explosive device, or devices, or the use of weapons.Â
The preparatory acts alleged included obtaining or seeking to obtain large quantities of firearms and ammunition, and significant quantities of chemicals which Mr Maidment said were for the purpose of making explosives “capable of causing substantial damage and loss of life.”Â
The judge, Anthony Whealy, urged the potential jurors not to offer themselves for service unless they were certain they could bring an unbiased mind to the trial.Â
“Each of the accused is entitled, and emphatically entitled, to the presumption of innocence,” Justice Whealy told jurors in the assembly room via videolink from the court.Â
“The fact that each is an adherent to the Muslim faith cannot be something that is allowed to raise any aspect of bias.Â
“It is important to repeat and stress that those who wish to serve on the jury should offer themselves for service only if they are able to bring an unbiased approach to persons of the Muslim faith.Â
“Similarly, if you are of the Muslim faith and harbour resentment to non-Muslims, you should not offer yourself for service.”Â
The jury selection process is expected to last the remainder of the week, with Justice Whealy telling the potential jurors the trial could take up to a year and involve 700 witnesses.Â
October 27, 2008 12:22pm
SIX Sydney men facing terror-related charges were driven by their Islamic faith to carry out jihad and allegedly amassed large quantities of chemicals to make explosives capable of death and mayhem, a court has heard.
In outlining the Crown case against the men to potential jurors, Crown Prosecutor Richard Maidment SC said they each “strongly adhered to the Islamic faith” and were motivated by political, religious and ideological causes to allegedly conspire to carry out an act of violent jihad on the Australian community.
Mr Maidment said the men – Bradley Umar Sariff Baladjam, 31, Khaled Cheikho, 35, Moustafa Cheikho, 31, Mohamed Ali Elomar, 43, Abdul Rakib Hasan, 39, and Mohammed Omar Jamal, 24 – were allegedly devoted to the pursuit of violent jihad which he said each believed was founded in the teachings of Islam.Â
The NSW Supreme Court trial of the six is due to begin in a week after a jury is empanelled from 5000 people.Â
Each of the men has pleaded not guilty.Â
Mr Maidment told the first group of potential jurors the men had allegedly obtained large quantities of chemicals including acetone and hydrogen peroxide and planned to detonate an explosive device or devices.Â
He also said the men were allegedly found with written instructions which would have enabled them to manufacture explosives “capable of causing substantial damage and loss of life”.Â
A large quantity of literature supporting Osama bin Laden was also allegedly found in the men’s possession, Mr Maidment told the court.Â
This allegedly included still images and video containing material in support of violent jihad.Â
Justice Anthony Whealy told the potential jurors they should not offer their services if they felt they could not be impartial to people of the Muslim faith.Â
Nation at risk from ‘dirty bomb’
AUSTRALIA’S proximity to the hotbeds of terrorism in Asia places it at greater risk of a biological terror attack, one of the US’s leading biosecurity experts has warned.
John Clerici, an architect of US President George W. Bush’s emergency bio-terrorism laws, says Australians must be wary of complacency about the threat of this unusual form of terrorism, which he says represents a growing challenge to the Western democracies.
“The threat (of bio-terrorism) is perceived to be very real in the US and is taken more seriously there than it is in Europe,” Mr Clerici told The Australian. “But Australia’s proximity to the hotbeds of terrorism in Asia means there needs to be a greater awareness of the threat here.”
Mr Clerici, who is in Australia to address the AusBiotech Conference beginning in Melbourne today, says it is hard for many people to imagine the devastation that terrorists could unleash through the deliberate spread of smallpox or anthrax or similar deadly agents.
“In the US, we have put close to $US10billion into producing large amounts of smallpox vaccines and anthrax vaccines, but there is still a lot to do,” he said.
“The biggest gap in preparations by the US and in the rest of the world is in dealing with a so-called dirty bomb (which disperses deadly radioactive material).
“If a dirty bomb were set off near the White House, it would make a five-block radius unlivable for many years. We are not yet ready to deal with something like that.”
Mr Clerici said Australia was taking the threat of bio-terrorism more seriously than many European countries were, but more needed to be done.
“There seems to be a greater awareness of the bio-terrorism threat here than in Europe,” he said. “But obviously, the further we get away from the events of 9/11, the more people become lax in their notion of the reality of the threat.”
The federal Government stepped up its defences against the threat of bio-terrorism in July last year by opening a new Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Data Centre.
The centre provides intelligence to law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and emergency services to help prevent, prepare and respond to the use of CBRN weapons or materials by criminals or terrorists.
It has committed $5.2million over four years to research ways to improve the response capabilities for bio-terrorism.
Plans have been made to establish deployable mortuary services within Australia capable of managing up to 5000 fatalities in any one event.
Experts say terrorists could construct and detonate a dirty bomb by stealing or buying radioactive material on the global black market.
The US has become a leader on bio-terrorism countermeasures following the 2001 anthrax mailings, which killed five people and required thousands of people to take prophylactic treatment.
Mr Bush launched Project BioShield in 2004 to try to remedy the severe shortage of viable counter-measures for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.