Don't You Want To Go To Paradise, Mum?
- From: The Australian
- September 14, 2010
AS he prepared to martyr himself by attacking the Holsworthy army base, alleged terrorist Wissam Fattal asked his mother: "Don't you want paradise? Don't you want your son and yourself to go to paradise to the highest degree?"
He told her, in a telephone conversation intercepted by Australian police in a massive operation called Operation Neath and read to a Victorian Supreme Court jury yesterday: "This terrestrial life is pain, mum."
Throughout these phone calls, the transcripts show his mother called him "my sweetheart" and "my darling". On March 3 last year, she told him, "Thanks to Allah, I'm so happy with you".
In the courtroom, Islamic women were dressed in the hijab. In the dock, the five accused men, two Lebanese and three Somali, wore suits and ties. The jury is made up of 10 men and four women.
Translated extracts from more than 100 telephone intercepts, selected from more than 2000 that were recorded over 10 months, were read out by crown prosecutor Nick Robinson, beginning with an intercept dated September 30, 2008, in which Mr Fattal tells a man by the name of Aref that he should stay in an Arabic country. "It is decadence here," he says. "I want to get out of here."Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, of Melbourne, Nayef El Sayed, 26, of Glenroy, Saney Edow Aweys, 27, of Carlton North, Yacqub Khayre, 23, of Meadow Heights and Abdirahmin Mohamud Ahmed, 26, of Preston have all pleaded not guilty to conspiring to do acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.
The men were arrested in dramatic dawn raids last August in an undercover operation, involving about 400 officers from the Australian Federal Police as well as Victorian and NSW police.
Opening the prosecution case, Mr Robinson SC said the plan was for five or six men to arm themselves with high-powered weapons and attack the Holsworthy base, firing at as many people as possible until they themselves were killed or overwhelmed.
Over several hours yesterday, the court was shown transcripts of intercepts and undercover police recordings, in which the prosecution alleges the men were conspiring to bring a fatwa in Australia.
In several of the intercepts, in which they spoke usually in Arabic or Somali, the men voiced their support for Islamic fighters carrying "the black banners" or the "black flags" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In intercepts from October 2008 onwards, the prosecution alleged, Fattal prepared his parents in Lebanon for his martyrdom. On October 13, 2008, he told his mother about the extent of decadence in Australia. "I am entrusting my cause to Allah, the Glorious and the Almighty," he said.
In November 2008, he said to his mother: "Supplicate for me to be killed at the hands of the False Messenger . . . for me to be the martyr at the hands of the False Messenger."During intercepts made in February and March last year, alleged co-conspirator Saney Aweys was recorded saying that those who lost their lives in the Black Saturday bushfires were killed by Allah because of the previous conviction of a "sheik".
"Allah bring the fitna (trouble)," he said. "Allah bring them calamity."
Mr Robinson said that between February 1 and August 4 this year, the men had prepared for the attack, taking steps to obtain a fatwa, or religious decree, to endorse it. But unable to secure a fatwa from Islamic sheiks in Australia, one of the conspirators, Walid Mohamed, travelled to Somalia for it.
"The attack was, the Crown says, intended to intimidate the Australian federal government or the public or a section of the public," Mr Robinson said. He said they were motivated by the presence of Australian troops in Afghanistan and Iraq which they believed was "oppressing innocent Muslims" and by the conviction of the unnamed sheik.
The trial is continuing.
"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck