Nothing that interfaith sessions, government handouts and an army of social workers can’t fix. Â Most important is of course to assure the shocked, fearful Â muslim community that there is no backlash to worry about, and that their clerics and their mosques are not under surveillance. Because that could cause Â backlash. Police commissioner Simon Overland is already fully in tune with Islamic customs and is often seen apologizing to Islamic leaders, usually after some of the tiny minority of extremists Â get caught doing their Islamic duty, which includes blowing up stoopid infidels like you and me.
Terror trial begins in Supreme Court: “nothing to do with Islam, Islam is not on trial here…”
“This is the road to paradise, I swear to Allah…”
Terror accused suffered cold feet
Cold feet terrorists?
A group of conspirators waited in Australia for an Islamic cleric in Somalia to grant them a fatwa.
They wanted his blessing to break into Sydney’s Holsworthy army base and kill as many people as possible.
But one of them expressed fears that it could be “a catastrophe”, the Victorian Supreme Court heard yesterday.
In a phone conversation intercepted by police in June last year, Abdirahmin Mohamud Ahmed told Saney Edow Aweys it would be easy for an “angry” sheik in the mountains of Somalia to tell them to “enter this place” and they had to ask “people with knowledge”.
“If the sheik says to the guys enter this place . . . it’s a catastrophe, brother,” Mr Ahmed said.
Mr Aweys, who has been identified in many recorded conversations repeatedly describing Australians as “infidels”, told Mr Ahmed he was “soft” and told him if a fatwa was granted, “I am included”.
He told Mr Ahmed, who in other intercepted calls had said he was “in revolt” from the teachings of local clerics: “Hey, it’s not our motherland. There is no motherland here.”
After reading the transcript of the intercept, prosecutor Nick Robinson told the jury that while Mr Ahmed might have expressed reservations, that did not absolve him of the conspiracy.
Mr Aweys, 27, of Carlton North, Mr Ahmed, 26, of Preston, Yacqub Khayre, 23, of Meadow Heights, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, of Melbourne, and Nayef El Sayed, 26, of Glenroy, have all pleaded not guilty to conspiring to do acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.
“Dramatic Dawn Raids”
The men were arrested in dramatic dawn raids last August involving about 400 officers after an 11-month undercover operation by a terrorism taskforce.
Jurors were yesterday shown CCTV footage of Mr Fattal travelling to the Holsworthy base by train in March last year and walking along a perimeter fence.
Mr Fattal was then living in the southwestern Sydney suburb of Lakemba, having fled assault charges in Melbourne. He was arrested on that charge four days later and extradited to Victoria.
The prosecution has alleged that at the time he went to Sydney, Mr Fattal, Mr Sayed and Mr Khayre at least had already agreed to the conspiracy and that Mr Fattal and Mr Khayre exchanged text messages about the location of “Australian A”, alleged to be the army base.
The court heard that when the alleged conspirators spoke of their plan, they referred to it as “the work” or “our issue”.
During an intercepted call on April 1, Mr Fattal told Mr Sayed that he had seen “the situation” and “strolled” there. He told him, “the work, it’s easy”.
Mr Sayed, who was becoming increasingly certain they were being watched, told Mr Fattal he would “speak in riddles” and said that a “brother” was going “from here to there” to ask “a few scholars” whether something was “halal” (permissible in Islam) or “haram” (not permissible).
The prosecution claims this was a reference to Mr Khayre travelling to Somalia to receive a fatwa from radical clerics after Australian clerics refused to grant them one.
During an intercepted call between Mr Khayre and a man called Hashim on April 9, Hashim said: “You’re going . . . to dead man’s land, dead man’s land.”
On April 15, when Mr Aweys spoke to Mr Khayre, who was then in Nairobi, he told him: “It’s very dangerous in Allah’s name, be careful.”
On April 24, when Mr Sayed visited Mr Fattal, who was in the Melbourne Assessment Prison facing assault charges, Mr Fattal told him: “This is the road to paradise, I swear to Allah.