Five Muslim extremists planned terrorist acts in Australia in pursuit of “violent jihad” because they believed Islam was under attack worldwide, a court heard as their trial began Tuesday.
The Sydney men obtained or sought weapons and explosive materials and possessed extremist material venerating the work of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, prosecutor Richard Maidment told a Supreme Court jury.
He said the evidence would show the men were working together between July 2004 and their arrest in November 2005 “to prepare for the commission of one or more terrorist acts in Australia.”
The accused — Khaled Cheikho, Moustafa Cheikho, Mohamed Ali Elomar, Abdul Rakib Hasan and Mohammed Omar Jamal — have pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, the men — aged from 24 to 43 — face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Raids on their homes found “large quantities of literature which supported indiscriminate killing, mass murder and martyrdom in pursuit of violent jihad,” Maidment said.
They had pictures and videos showing the hijacked aircraft smashing into the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, as well as beheadings and death on the battlefield, he said.
Maidment described all five as devout Muslims who believed Islam was under attack throughout the world and that there was a religious obligation to come to its defence.