Jihad was 'religious duty' for terror accused, court hears.
Members of an alleged terrorist organisation felt compelled to pursue violent jihad because Australia was a land at war, a court has heard. Crown prosecutor Richard Maidment, SC, told a Supreme Court jury Abdul Nacer Benbrika taught his alleged followers bloody jihad was their religious duty.
Benbrika, 48, of Dallas, is accused of being the leader of an organisation plotting a terrorist act against "kuffars," translated as unbelievers, to avenge the killing of Muslims overseas.
"That teaching and philosophy underpins this organisation," Mr Maidment said.
Benbrika, and his 11 fellow accused have all pleaded not guilty to terrorism offences. The court had previously heard of the group's alleged plans to carry out attacks on the MCG and Crown Casino.
During his closing address today, Mr Maidment told the jury to look for sinister inferences in hundreds of recorded telephone conversations played throughout the men's trial, which has taken nearly five months. He said the men had planned to buy weapons for "Allah's cause" and used car parts stripped from stolen vehicles to raise funds. The mujahideen "brothers in Chechnya" also stole to support Allah's cause: "You just see all those macho videos where they are all holding AKs and all shooting, you don't see what they do behind … They don't do it every single day, man, they do this." Mr Maidment said the men were involved in a car-stripping scheme to raise funds for an alleged terror organisation to which they belonged.
Mr Maidment said when one of the accused, Ezzit Raad, raised concerns about stealing he was told it was lawful to take the blood and money of a "kuffar".
"Imagine going to prison for Allah, every second you are there you get a reward," Ahmed Raad allegedly told his older brother.
Mr Maidment said despite having no direct involvement in the stolen cars, Benbrika suspected he would be arrested following police raids over the car thefts. "Don't you think that I should be the first on their list," the court heard Benbrika asked Hany Taha, another of the accused.
Mr Maidment said Taha and Benbrika both believed police were using the stolen car racket as a cover to probe the group's activities. (STOLEN CAR SCAMS APPEARS TO BE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR MUSLIM TERROR CELLS AROUND THE WORLD) "What he's concerned about is that the true purpose of the organisation is being revealed," Mr Maidment said.
The other accused men are;
Abdullah Merhi, 23, of Fawkner;
Aimen Joud, 23, of Hoppers Crossing;
Ahmed Raad, 25, of Fawkner;
Fadl Sayadi, 28, of Coburg;
Ezzit Raad, 26, of Preston;
Shoue Hammoud,28, of Hadfield;
Bassam Raad, 26, of Brunswick;
Amer Haddara, 28, of Yarraville;
Majed Raad, 24, of Coburg;
Shane Kent, 31, of Meadow Heights;
Hany Taha, 33, of Hadfield.
The trial before Justice Bernard Bongiorno continues.