Australia has claimed a blow against a home-grown terrorist cell, with the conviction and sentencing of Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 48, of the Melbourne suburb of Dallas, and a group of five followers. Benbrika received a maximum term of 15 years, but two of his followers will be eligible for parole in 15 months. Justice Bernard Bongiorno said Benbrika formed the group, known as “Jemaa” for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad “The jemaah would achieve this by acts of terrible violence in this country, or perhaps elsewhere,” Justice Bongiorno said.
Bongiorno explicitly invoked Australia’s military involvement in Iraq as a motive. “In Australia, such terrorism would be directed towards coercing the Australian Government into withdrawing Australian forces from Iraq, as the presence of such troops in that country was seen as oppressive to Muslims and the Islamic religion,” he said. (Melbourne Herald Sun, Feb. 3)
See our last post on Australia.