From their own social media posts, it is clear that several of the
young Melbourne men Mohammedans accused of plotting a Christmas Day terror attack have spent time at a place called the Hume Islamic Youth Centre in Coolaroo.
Despite it being linked again and again to young jihadist warriors from Melbourne, it keeps a reputation as a ‘moderate’ Islamic centre, primarily a place for young Muslims from the northern suburbs to meet informally. It has a gym, table tennis and pool tables, a boxing ring, a cafe and a shop.
It has a gym, table tennis and pool tables, a boxing ring, a cafe and a shop thanks to the Australian gov’t, that squanders taxpayer money on paying off Mohammedans so they don’t kill us.
The centre is not a place where young Muslims would as a matter of course hear firebrand clerics advocating violence against the West.
Al AGE journaillie doesn’t know that. They assume it isn’t.
But authorities believe it is a central focal point of the Melbourne community, and they know it is watched over by Sheikh Mohammed Omran, a veteran and very senior leader of Australia’s Islamic fundamentalists.
He is the highest ranked cleric in the country for the Salafi movement – Salafi being a more conservative strand of Sunni Islam, advocating a return to older and more purist traditions. Sheikh Omran also heads a Sydney Islamic Centre, ASWJ.
Sheikh Omran is a very well known headbanger. His Islam is no different from the Islam that catmeat sheik Hilali or the current mufti preaches. It is just Islam, not “older and more purist” as al AGE would have you believe. Islam is Islam and that’s it.
Hardcore preachers Musa Cerantonio and Junaid Thorne, who have had their passports revoked by the federal government, have both given talks at Omran’s centres. His Brunswick mosque attracted 18 devotees who were later convicted in Victoria and New South Wales by Operation Pendennis, Australia’s largest counter-terrorism sting.
Some of those, including men known to have attended the Hume Centre, were accused of being a part of a terrorism cell led by Abdul Nacer Benbrika (aka Abu Bakr), who was jailed for 15 years in 2009.
Omran himself has denounced Islamic State as khawarij, or outsiders. He was born in Jordan and studied in Saudi Arabia. He would accept his followers are fundamentalists but would deny outright they are extremists.
But regardless of whether it is a kindergarten for radicalisation or something more benign, the centre’s comings and goings have been watched by ASIO for two years.
Three of the four young men this week charged with planning the Christmas IS-style attacks on Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral have attended – Abdullah Chaarani, 26, of nearby Dallas, and the Abbas brothers Ibrahim, 22, and Hamza, 21, who live in Campbellfield and Flemington.
Jake Bilardi passed through its doors. He was the 18-year-old ‘white jihadi’ from Craigieburn who died in a suicide attack for Islamic State in Iraq last year. Adam Dahman, of Northcote, also a suicide bomber in the Middle East, was a Facebook supporter of a guest preacher at the centre, Melbourne-born Khoder Soueid, who himself has professed support for Islamic State.
It has also been reported another young Melbourne man, Dawod Elmir, who joined Islamic State, was a regular at the centre.
The centre is also a key fundraiser for Islamic causes, including this week raising money through a bake-sale for humanitarian causes in Syria.