Welfare warfare – disability pensioner Hamdi Alqudsi ‘funds Syrian rebels’
Alqudsi, who told investigators he has two wives, is the partner of controversial Muslim Carnita Matthews – the woman who, in 2010, claimed police tried to rip off her burqa to see her face during a roadside breath test. …More racism and nothing to do with islam atÂ Perth NowÂ thanks to Mullah / pbuh
Hamdi Alqudsi being taken into custody yesterday.Â Source:Â Supplied
HE is accused of being the mastermind behind a network sending Australians to Syria to fight alongside al-Qaeda, but yesterday Hamdi Alqudsi said he was a disability pensioner with only $500 to his name.
But police allege Alqudsi, 39, had access to funds to pay the airfares and accommodation for a number of men now in Syria, believed to have headed there to engage in hostile activities.
Alqudsi, who told investigators he has two wives, is the partner of controversial Muslim Carnita Matthews – the woman who, in 2010, claimed police tried to rip off her burqa to see her face during a roadside breath test.
She was later found guilty of making a false statement.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal all six men involved in the network Alqudsi was allegedly running were born in Australia and have spent most of their lives in Sydney.
Police claim they have no known relatives or links in Syria.
“We will allege their primary motive for going there is to fight,” a police source said.
Joint Counter Terrorism detectives arrested Alqudsi and a co-accused Amin Iman Mohammed, 23.
Seven houses across Sydney were also raided yesterday.
Police allege that between June and July this year, five men left Australia to fight against government forces in Syria. A sixth man, Mohammed, was stopped at Brisbane Airport and arrested.
Supporters of Hamdi Alqudsi confronted by the media outside Bankstown Court.Â Source:Â News Limited
Police allege Alqudsi was the main go-between for the men, linking them with known associates of Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria, which is closely linked to Al-Qaeda.
Police allege Alqudsi told the men to fly to Turkey and where to cross the Syrian-Turkey border.
He would then phone contacts there who would link up with the men, police allege.
All six were in their 20s or 30s and of Middle-Eastern background.
“He had access to funds and helped a number with money for fares and other expenses,” police said.
Police allege the men were personally recruited by Alqudsi, who would make contact with them after hearing through his network that they were sympathetic to the cause and willing to fight.
Police said the use of telephone listening devices was instrumental in their investigation.
Last night Alqudsi remained in custody despite being granted bail, after struggling to raise the $10,000 surety to secure his bail. His lawyer Zali Burrows told Bankstown Local Court her client was a disability pensioner and could only muster $500.
But prosecutor Michael Allnutt said that considering police had intelligence Alqudsi had been planning to travel to Syria earlier this year and had raised enough money to do so, it was unlikely he could only raise $500.
Magistrate Elaine Truscott ordered him to provide $10,000 surety and surrender his passport, and then bail would be granted.
Mohammed also struggled to raise the money for his bail, and will remain in custody.
Police said they have put a significant dent in a group that has been sending Australians to fight on the front lines of Syria’s civil war.
This allegedly included fighting with the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra and affiliates of al-Qaeda.
Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner of national security Peter Drennan said the men were not involved in any terrorism threat against Australia.
He said people travelling to Syria to fight were engaging in illegal activity and could find themselves associating with terrorists.
Alqudsi and Mohammed will both face court again in February.
A rebel fighter from the Free Syrian Army fires his weapon during fighting against government forces / Picture: AFPÂ Source:Â AFP
THE RABBLE OF REBELS THAT PULLS FIGHTERS IN Andrew Carswell
THEY were not going to free Syria for Syria’s sake.
The six men allegedly sent from Sydney to join terrorist forces had no connection with the war-torn nation. No relatives, no affinity, no legitimate reason to want it free.
But that hasn’t stopped thousands of foreign fighters and jihadists who have flooded into Syria to “join” the rebel cause in bringing down the ruthless regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
This is a rebel cause that is an unlikely collaboration of good and evil – the original rebels, the Free Syrian Army; the al-Muhajirin forces from banned terrorist groups Jabhat Al Nusra and Al-Qaeda; and the various armed Islamic movements.
These myriad forces and brigades may be fighting on the same side of the bloodied streets as that of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, but their objectives remain at odds.
One moderate group seeking to topple a dictator and a growing coterie of fundamentalist Islamist groups seeking to install sharia law, among other underhand pursuits.
There are believed to be about 200 Australians fighting in Syria.
Of great concern to political leaders and residents of Syria is the belief that the rebel forces are becoming less moderate as the civil war that has claimed an estimated 126,000 lives drags out to an impending stalemate.
As the Free Syrian Army suffers heavy losses, the number of jihadists among the rebel stocks has increased, with Jabhat Al Nusra and Al-Qaeda fighters swarming across the borders.
The ASIO director-general, David Irvine, recently revealed as many as six Australians may have died in the fighting, including the first known example of a suicide bombing by an Australian, last month.
In September, a Western plan for a united Syrian National Coalition was condemned by rebel groups that advocated Sharia law in Syria.
By the day, it appears, Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s widely ridiculed claim that the Syrian civil war was a matter of “baddies versus baddies” is becoming founded.
WIFE LIED TO POLICE IN BURQA COMPLAINT Andrew Priestley
THE wife of one of the men accused of sending young Australian men to Syria to fight alongside terrorist groups was herself once at the centre of a media storm.
In 2010, Carnita Matthews, the wife of Hamdi Alqudsi, accused NSW Police Sergeant Paul Kearney of trying to rip off her burqa when she was pulled over for a random breath test and refused requests to remove the full facial covering.
Carnita Matthews in a burqa leaving Campbelltown Local Court.Â Source:Â News Limited
Matthews accused the officer of being racist after she was booked for not displaying her P-plates properly.
Carnita Matthews outside court.Â Source:Â News Limited
However, footage taken from the police patrol car’s built-in camera cleared Sgt Kearney of wrongdoing.
A magistrate found Matthews guilty of making a deliberately false statement and sentenced her to six months in jail. She appealed the decision, saying there was no proof she was the person who made the statement and who was wearing a burqa at the time.
The appeal was upheld, but she was still required to pay court costs, which were estimated to be more than $10,000.
In response to the incident and subsequent public outcry, the NSW government passed legislation requiring people to remove facial coverings when asked to by police.
Those who refuse can face penalties from a $220 fine to a one-year jail sentence.
Before the 2010 incident, Matthews was found to have been fined for seven traffic infringements, and had her licence suspended twice for not paying fines.
Matthews also had her provisional licence suspended twice for racking up an excessive number of demerit points.