Terrorists sought Somali cleric's 'fatwa' to wage jihad against 'decadent' Australia

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Canberra, Sept 14 (ANI): A terrorist cell preparing to attack Holsworthy Army Barracks sought a 'fatwa' or religious approval from Somali clerics because they thought Australian Muslim leaders were wrong in opposing violence, the Victorian Supreme Court heard on Monday.

Prosecutor Nick Robinson told the court that members of the group described Australia as too decadent for Muslims and branded Australians as "modified English."

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, one of them welcomed the Black Saturday bushfires in which 177 died as divine retribution for the jailing of the leader of a Melbourne Islamist terrorist cell days before the fires. The leader was jailed for 15 years. Five other cell members were sentenced to lesser jail terms.

During the trial, the main accused, Melbourne men Saney Aweys, 27, Yacqub Khayre, 23, Abdirahman Ahmed, 26, Wissam Fattal, 34, and Nayef El Sayed, 26, pleaded not guilty to conspiring to do acts in preparation for a terrorist act.

One of the accused is alleged to have travelled to Africa seeking a fatwa, or religious ruling, to justify their attack.

Conversations between Fattal and his mother in Lebanon revealed him asking her to pray for his martyrdom.

"Supplicate for me to be killed at the hands of the False Messenger. That's the best one on earth, mother. It's better for you to stay in the Arabic countries ... forget here, it's decadence," he asked.

Robinson claimed that Fattal told an undercover police officer that he swore to Allah that if he could find a way to "kill the army", he would do it. He also alleged that when they realised that it would not be possible for some of them to travel abroad, the group settled on a local target.

Aweys's function was to use his contacts in Somalia to seek a fatwa, or permission, for their proposed attack by phone. Khayre travelled to Somalia to seek the fatwa in person, while El Sayed did the same by phone after being introduced to sheiks by Khayre. Ahmed canvassed for clerics who might support their plans.

The prosecution case relies on conversations in English, Arabic and Somali recorded from phones and listening devices. (ANI)

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