Can someone explain why the ABC’s 7.30 gave a platform to Islamist extremist Junaid Thorne to air his grievances and ideology?
This is extraordinary. “Our” ABC doesn’t just suck. It stinks.
Australia-born jihadi says he has no obligation to have any loyalty to Australia
We see this time and time again: Islamic jihadists declaring that their loyalty is to the umma, not to the country of their birth. Converts to Islam in the West again and again get the idea that their new religion requires them to commit treason and turn against their homeland. This is not “extremist” Islam: the idea that loyalty to Islam transcends and supersedes all other loyalties is mainstream, orthodox Islam. Authorities in the West, however, remain resolute in their determination not to examine the implications of that fact. (JW)
Just four years ago, young Noongar man Junaid Thorne was working as an intern at a global property agency in Saudi Arabia and planning a lucrative career as an investment adviser in the Middle East’s financial centre, Riyadh.
- Influential Islamic preacher denies he is leading terror cell
- Thorne under investigation by police
- Thorne previously jailed for giving false ID information
The Perth-born 27-year-old now believes it was his destiny to instead become a radical Muslim preacher suspected by Australian counter-terrorism authorities of leading a terror cell in south-western Sydney.
“It’s not something I had as a goal of mine, it’s not something I worked towards,” Mr Thorne said in an interview to be aired on 7.30 tonight.
“As Muslims we believe our life is predetermined for us, we believe in what’s called destiny and this is something that Allah has written for me and I accept it.”
Mr Thorne was born in Perth and raised in Saudi Arabia, where his brother was arrested on terrorism charges in 2011.
In 2013, Mr Thorne campaigned publicly for his brother’s release and was briefly jailed before being deported to Australia, cutting short his finance degree.
Since then, he has gained a following among young extremists by giving hate-filled sermons across Australia and making posts online supporting Islamic State.
Last Thursday, Mr Thorne’s home was raided and two people were charged with foreign incursion offences as police from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team searched six Sydney homes in a move to disrupt a suspected terror cell.
Police believe the cell is trying to source weapons and have issued Mr Thorne and his associates with firearm prohibition orders, which allow officers to search their properties without warrants.
‘Australia is not a place for us’
Senior counter-terrorism officers have told 7.30 they believe Mr Thorne is the leader of the cell and are investigating whether he was behind an alleged plot by two teenagers last month to carry out an Islamic State-inspired killing in Sydney.
Mr Thorne could face a life sentence if he is charged and convicted of planning the attack, but he says he has no loyalty to Australia or its rule of law.
“Whether as an Aboriginal or as a Muslim, Australia is not the place for us,” he told 7.30.
“My loyalty is to my faith and my religion and to the Muslims.
“Just because I was born here, I don’t see myself under any obligation to have any loyalty to a country that has invaded this land by force, who killed my ancestors and enslaved them and taken their country and resources from them and continue to be involved in foreign incursions and invade Muslim lands overseas.
“I don’t see myself as under any obligation to respect a law that is treating me as a slave or as an enemy.”
Thorne under investigation over alleged terror plot
Mr Thorne is being investigated over his connection to two 16-year-old boys who were arrested at a prayer hall in the suburb of Bankstown last month, allegedly in their final stages of preparations for an attack.
Police say they found two bayonets, which they allege the pair had bought less than an hour earlier at a Bankstown gun shop, and a handwritten note about dying for the caliphate.
According to the search warrant issued to Mr Thorne and obtained by 7.30, police are investigating whether the self-styled preacher “did aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission” of the alleged terror plot.
Mr Thorne told 7.30 he had not seen the boys that day but refused to say whether he had any contact with them in the days leading up to their arrest.
He challenged police to prove that he is the leader of a terror cell.
“If there’s evidence for that, bring it forth if it can be proven,” he said.
“What’s holding them back from proving it? If it’s just an allegation as everything else has been, then it’s just another allegation in a countless list of accusations that’s come before it.”
According to the warrant, police were searching Mr Thorne’s home for weapons including suicide belts, explosives, guns, bayonets and machetes, as well as documents relating to terrorist groups in Syria, including Islamic State.
Police did not find any weapons but seized a laptop, mobile phones and handwritten notes from Mr Thorne’s house.
He was imprisoned for four months last year for booking flights from Perth to Sydney under a false name.
However, Mr Thorne’s time in Australia’s toughest jail, the Supermax, only increased his influence.