Melbourne, 13 Feb. (AKI) – The leader of an Australian-based terrorist organisation told his members they should kill a thousand unbelievers to force the withdrawal of the country’s troops from Iraq, a court has heard.
In its opening address in Australia’s biggest terrorist trial on Wednesday, the prosecution said the group regarded Australia as a country at war and the indiscriminate murder of innocent citizens was justified by the teachings of Islam.
The Victorian Supreme Court, in the southern city of Melbourne, was told the group discussed targets that would inflict the maximum number of casualties such as railway stations or football stadiums.
The court also heard that the group’s director, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, also gave them permission to kill women, children and the elderly.
Forty-seven year-old Benbrika reportedly used the Arabic world “kuffur” to describe infidels who did not believe in violent Jihad to encourage his colleagues.
Twelve men are on trial, accused of a number of terrorist offences. They are Abdul Nacer Benbrika, Aimen Joud, Shane Kent, Hany Taha, Ezzit Raad, Abdullah Merhi, Bassam Raad, Shoue Hammoud, Majed Raad, and Amer Haddara.
Prosecutor Richard Maidment told the court Benbrika had urged the group to do “something big” to make the Australian government withdraw its troops from Iraq.
“If you kill here a thousand, the government is going to think, because if you get large numbers here, the government will listen,” Benbrika reportedly told Merhi in a conversation intercepted by police.
The court heard the groups had documents included publications such as “the terror manual” “the white resistance manual” and “the car bomb recognition guide”.
The material contained speeches by Osama bin Laden, and instructions on bomb making.
The court also heard that Benbrika asked an undercover police officer if he could get 500 kilogrammes of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser than can be used to make explosives.
Benbrika is charged with intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation that was preparing or promoting a terrorist attack, directing the activities of a terrorist organisation and possessing a CD connected with the preparation of a terrorist act.
“The organisation was exclusively male and exclusively Muslim,” Maidment told the court.
More than 25 lawyers are representing the 12 men at the trial which is expected to last nine months.