By KIM VUGA & BIANCA BARDEN
JULY 3, 2019
Two men aged 20 and 23 both ISIS supporters were arrested yesterday in Western Sydney with plans to blow up Sydney landmarks including targeting police stations and churches.
Counter-terrorism police raided homes across Sydney and arrested Isaak el Matari aged 20 and his associate 23-year-old (Radwan Dakkak). A year long investigation monitoring online activities.
A total of 3 men were arrested and were taken to Bankstown Police Station awaiting charges. Two have since been charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation.
A 30-year-old, Ahmed Tebeya, was charged with resisting arrest and obtaining a financial benefit by deception and was granted police bail before his matter goes to court later in July. He has not been charged with terrorism offences.
Two other neighbours, who didn’t want to be identified, said they couldn’t believe Dakkak had been arrested but one said he had 'transformed after going to Lakemba Mosque'. “He was always the lovely one … he changed after he started going to the mosque,” one said.
Police said it will be alleged in court that Dakkak was prominent in the global online extremist community. The three men communicated on social media.
Isaak el Matari was deported from Lebanon last year having served about a year in Roumieh prison in Beirut after Lebanese authorities claimed when they arrested Matari he was just two days away from crossing the border into Syria to link up with Islamic State fighters. Australian authorities have been monitoring Matari since he was deported from Lebanon back to Australia.
During Matari’s interrogation he claimed he was encouraged to join ISIS in Syria by a Sydney charity. This isn’t the first time that those hiding behind Australian charity status has had direct links jihadist funding to Islamic State.
Matari was educated at the Australian Islamic College
Attended Rooty Hill Mosque
Links to an Australian Islamic Charity whereby Matari said the charity told him to join ISIS
Started wearing Islamic style clothing
Access to social media and using it to connect to other terrorists
Neighbours of Dakkak said he 'transformed after going to Lakemba Mosque
Exploiting Not-for Profit Organisations (NPOs) can be very lucrative for terrorist groups. NPOs can generate large amounts of money. The assessment notes that Australian registered charities have an annual income of over $134 billion and send $1.5 billion overseas each year in donations and grants. Siphoning off even a small proportion of that money to terrorist groups would boost their capabilities and cause serious harm to communities.
NPOs though are just scratching the surface in the ways funds are mounted to fund and sent overseas for the sole purpose of funding Islamic terrorism. Accessing government Day Care Centre funds as well as monies set aside under the NDIS scheme have both been found to be rorted by muslims. In addition, there are both state and government school grants that have been exploited by Islamic schools. How much of that money actually ends up in the hands of terrorists is hard to estimate.
The alleged terror plot is the 16th that police have foiled since the terror threat level was raised in 2014.
The Commonwealth has tipped in more than $53 million to counter violent extremism over the past six years with no concrete proof that deradicalisation programs work. That is significant taxpayers money being shelled out for minimal guaranteed outcome.
Australia is a time bomb ticking - it’s only a matter of time.
Love Australia Or Leave Party is the only political party with a plan that will combat islamic extremism. You can read it here.