Lakemba’s terrorist connections: The ‘axis of evil’ in Australia

‘To wage jihad in the path of Allah is the apex of Islam. It will remain lawful until the establishment of the Hour.

The Muslim sects [ahl al-Qiblah] which stand outside the fold of the Sunnah are all threatened with destruction in this world and punishment in the hereafter.

Ahl as Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah are the ‘Saved Sect’ in the hereafter and the ‘Victorious Group in this world’.

Source: ‘A summary of the Fundamentals of the Creed of the Ah al Sunnah wa al Jama’h’ Dr Nasir bin Abdul Karim al Aql

‘Jihad is an act of worship, it is one of the supreme forms of devotion to Allah…Jihad is necessary not only for the spread of Islam , but in the way that Allah selects the best and purest of heart among humanity’ ….They say that Jihad is only for defence. This lie must be exposed….

Source:Jihad for Allah’s Sake Muhammad Saeed Al Qahtani

‘Today we say to America and its Allies-You are not the first to have fought Islam. Actually there are many before you. However, what was the result? Allah destroyed everyone that stood against the path of Islam…’

For over a decade, Lakemba and nearby suburbs of North West Sydney, New South Wales has been the axis of evil in Australia. The attempted control of the management of Sheikh Hilaly’s Lakemba mosque and the shadowy purchase of a new mosque in Belmore by the Lakemba-based Islamic salaffist fundamentalist jihad organization Ahl al –Suunah wa al-Jama’ah lead by Sheikh Omran (Melbourne) and Sheikh Zoud (Sydney) is of more than local interest as its leadership has personal friendship, doctrinal, financial and organizational affiliations with identified global terrorists in Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network.

The perils of primordial affiliations

Lakemba’s Islamic fundamentalists and criminals have engaged in political power struggles and turf battles over Islamic doctrines and affiliations against a background of organized crime including:

· Revenge and honour killings

· Car theft and car rebirthing rings

· Theft and break-ins

· Drug dealing and drug-related crime

· Family and kinship feuds involving murders and violence

· Intimidation concerning the permanent license for muslim community radio

· Kidnappings and abductions

· Drive-by shootings

· Contract killings, pack rapes, kneecappings and two assaults involving grenades.

In the mid 1990s members of the Islamic Youth Movement allegedly threatened to shoot members of the Bankstown based Islamic Charitable Projects Association. However, according to the Iman and Grand Mufti of Lakemba mosque, Sheikh Hilaly:

‘The people who belonged to the Charitable Projects Association actually fired a weapon against the people from the Islamic Youth Movement and possibly tried to kill them in this process’.

On Sunday 1 November 1998, Saleh Jamal, a Lakemba resident and two accomplices conducted a drive-by shooting at Lakemba Police Station at 0130 hours. 13 Shots were fired. Five policemen narrowly missed death. Reacting to State government and community alarm and the novel experience of being the target of drive-by terrorists, the NSW Police Service finally launched Task Force Gain and Operation Vikings in 2003 and 2004.

Saleh Jamal, who has been charged as the key shooter and driver at the Lakemba police station drive-by shooting, skipped bail in New South Wales in 2004 and travelled to Lebanon on a false [Jordanian] passport. Lebanese authorities alleged he was assisted by Bilal Khazal. Jamal is facing serious terrorist charges in Lebanon including planning terrorist attacks and association with Al Qaeda.

On 22 September 2001 at Greenacre, Mervat and Ziad Razaak died after over 100 shots were fired late at night at their house by three balaclava-clad drive-by shooters using automatic weapons. Police found over 100 .45 and .22 caliber bullets at the crime scene and two unfired semi-automatic pistols.

Former Lakemba resident, Mamdouh Habib currently lawfully detained by US authorities in Guantanamo Bay claimed he was beaten ‘around the back and legs’ by a police-like black ‘baton’ and threatened by Bilal Khazal in a busy Lakemba street on 3 November 2001. Khazal is currently facing terrorist charges in Australia. Bilal Khazal also claims he was stabbed and shot at from a passing car.

In August 2002, an SBS crew, from a television station which promotes multiculturalism, were ambushed and bashed by up to ten men fifteen minutes after lunchtime prayers on Friday, the holiest day of the Muslim week, opposite the Lakemba mosque.

On 29 August 2003 semi-automatic pistols and a military assault rifle were used in the assassination of Ali Abdulrazak who was shot ten times in the heart and chest, as he sat in his car after attending Sheikh Hilaly’s Lakemba mosque.

On 15 October 2003, Ahmad Fahda was shot 30 times in daylight at a petrol station in the south western suburb, Punchbowl.

In late 2003, NSW Police were investigating the use of an assault rifle fitted with a grenade launcher. Grenades have been found at crime/attack scenes.

In November 2003, Ahmed Mandouh Habib, Mamdouh Habib’s eldest son and two others were charged with kidnapping and assaulting an eighteen year old girl who had left home following a family dispute.

The target, understood to be a Habib family relative, was dragged from a car outside Bankstown TAFE after midnight on 5 November 2003 by Habib and two accomplices, including her twin brother. Habib allegedly wrapped masking tape round her mouth and head. In the garage of her former Greenacre home, they allegedly cut her waist-length hair to her neck and shaved her head with electric clippers. She was released after her 2 hour ordeal. Her twin brother, Islam Hassam allegedly claimed to her: I’m only doing this for your own good. I love you like a Muslim sister’.

In December 2003, Sayeh Frangeih was shot dead with a handgun. His daughter fled into the house after she was shot at from a parked car.

NSW Police Commissioner: ‘A form of urban terrorism’

A fog of political correctness has descended to obscure the critical question: how many would-be terrorists and ‘Islamic students’ have access to automatic weapons, grenades and weapons, which some NSW police claim can be found in Middle East war zones? The drive-by shooting of the Lakemba Police station was a paradigm case of the convergence of crime and Islamic terrorism.

Is it surprising that Willie Brigitte was directed to Lakemba where his terrorist contacts where located? Or that many of the mosques and prayer halls promoting jihad/ terrorism are located in Lakemba and its environs?

In October 2003, NSW Police Commissioner Moroney referred to ‘current lawlessness’ as a form of ‘urban terrorism’ which was the worst he had seen for four decades:

‘...They are urban terrorists. They are disturbing the safety, security, and well being of the community. These people are murderers and criminals. They are not frightened of the prison system. They are not frightened of the police…There is a culture within these people. A belief system within these people that makes them not frightened….’

A Sydney NSW media report noted in October 2003, ‘with almost unlimited access to handguns, and in some cases military-styled assault weapons, at least six-ethnic based rival groups have engaged in tit-for-tat bloodletting across just a handful of Sydney suburbs for the past 18 months. At least 118 drive-by shootings kneecappings, murders, armed robberies and other gun offences have occurred since March.’

A former Sydney detective familiar with the NSW crime milieu recently summarized:

‘…The issue [of Middle East gangs] has become so serious that some of these Middle Eastern youth who are engaged in organized crime, and who have no regard for our values and way of life, may go a step further and engage in terrorist acts in Australia. The ingredients are there already. It is but a small step from urban terrorism to religious and political terrorism….’

Quadrant, Jan/Feb 2004.#9. T I Priest ‘ Don’t Turn a Blind Eye to Terror in our Midst’
The Australian, 12 Jan 2004, ‘Huge Police swoop nets crime clan brothers linked to drug dealing’
Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 2004. ‘New Answers sought on Gun Crime’s
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 October 2003, ‘Sydney’s Arabic Community living in fear’
Daily Telegraph, 2 November 2003, ‘Botched Killing to escalate violence’
The Australian, 9 December 2003, ‘Terrors Easy Ride’
The Herald Sun, 20 October 2003, ‘Murders Linked to Family Feud
The Australian, 14 October 2003, ‘Two Shot Dead in Drive By’.

The culture of pre-terrorist attitude formation

A critical factor in the development of crime/terrorism in South Western Sydney is the diffusion of a culture of pre-terrorist attitude-formation-based anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-Western suspicion and conspiracy theories. Global jihad, terrorism and hatred of kaffir is tirelessly expounded in the many mosques, youth centers, and prayer rooms in the Lakemba-Bankstown -Wiley Park area; the axis of evil-in Australia.

Self appointed overseas–trained professional Sheikhs sponsor Haj visits, a convenient recruiting arena, and scholarships to talent spot youthful students as potential recruits to jihad.

Example: One of the most popular books sold at The Islamic Bookstore ,165 Haldon Street, Lakemba, written by Sheik Omran’s ’great friend ‘Abu Qatada, is titled: Jihad and Jurisprudence.

Qatada, who visited Australia in December 1994, is a key Al Qaeda identity, fanatical anti-Semite, Al Qaeda fundraiser and an inspirational figure for global jihadists, notably Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the 9 11 terrorists.

In January 2004, Justice Collins of the Special Immigration Appeals Committee described him as ‘at the centre of in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with Al Qaeda. He is a truly dangerous individual’. He is currently detained in Belmarsh maximum security prison in England.

Sheikh Omran: ‘Abu Qatada is a great friend of mine!’

Not surprising really! Sheikh Omran, Australia’s ‘founding father’ of Islamic fundamentalism in Australia and Secretary-General and spiritual leader of the Salaafi fundamentalist sect Ahl as Sunnah Wal Jamaah and its associate organization in Sydney the pro-Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden organization, the Islamic Youth Movement (IYM) claims …’Abu Qatada is a great friend of mine’.

The heavy–hitting Sheiks in Melbourne and Sydney Australia agree with Qatada’s doctrinal commitment to jihad/ terrorism:

‘…joining a jihad group is not a seasonal choice but a divine order …. infidel Jews and Christians who live on Muslim lands can be considered protected people but those who are not in Muslim lands [Australia and the United States] can have no protection and cannot be trusted; they are war infidels’.

Qatada’s operational doctrine can be summarized:: ‘If I don’t like you, I will kill you’ or in more sophisticated terms: ‘…if I don’t like you- and I don’t, if you are not one my group- I will not tell you and act as if I like you – and I will kill you later….But whatever the case, I have divine sanction to kill you’.

But all Muslims charged with terrorist offences are ‘innocent’. Harmless. Peaceful. Osama bin Laden is no exception. Sheik Omran denies any of his ‘friends’ are terrorists! Sheikh Zoud denies Osama bin Laden is a terrorist. So, that is the end of the matter! On 22 March 2003, Zoud stated in an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald:

‘He’s not a terrorist in my view. I don’t believe he did what the Americans said. I swear by God, by Allah…I reject Bin Laden’s culpability in the attacks on the US on September 11 2001’.

The new mosque: targeting youth

The purchase of a nearby unused mosque escalates Lakemba-based conflicts to a new level as the Sydney Sheikhs plan to recruit new members into the burgeoning Islamic youth movement – many already have terrorist profiles – and eventually into jihad/ terrorist networks linked to Al Qaeda related organizations in Australia and the region. Australia in this unfolding scenario could become an even more important operational base for Al Qaeda.

The group led by Sheik Omran and Sheik Zoud is opposing, organizing, scheming, and conspiring against Sheik Hilaly of the Lakemba mosque. Sheikh Hilaly describes suicide bombers as heroes but now condemns Sheik Omran and Zoud and his cohorts as ‘dangerous radicals’ and ‘extremists’! How convenient! Sheikh Hilaly has morphed into a Muslim moderate!

Nevertheless, the proposed ‘new’ mosque is a weapon in the ‘dangerous radicals’ struggle for dominance in Lakemba and its racked environs. If the Sheikhs control Islamic youth and fundamentalist movements in Sydney they will control them throughout Australia and the region. The Sheikhs think locally, act globally-global jihad.

Lakemba Musallah / Prayer Hall: the matrix of transnational terrorism

The would-be purchasers of the ‘new mosque’ in Belmore, Sydney, are headed by the wily Salaafi of Spin, Melbourne based Sheikh Mohamed Omran and Sydney based Sheikh Abdul Zoud who resides over the Haldon Street prayer hall- the matrix of transnational terrorism in Australia.

The Haldon Street prayer hall is situated on the first floor of 152-156 Haldon Street, Lakemba beside the office of the Islamic Youth Movement and has been the meeting/prayer centre for key Islamic terrorists including:

· Willie Brigitte aka Mohamed Ibrahim, aka Abou Maimounaaka Salahouddin, aka Jamal, the accidental French tourist/ terrorist who was key participant in ‘a spectacular terrorist operation in Australia’ and, according to local sources, was treated with special care at the Lakemba prayer Hall. He married Melanie Joyce Brown at the hall on 30 August 2003. Sheikh Zoud performed the ceremony.

· Faheem Khalid Lodhi, aka Abu Hamza, aka Rogers, aka Sam Praveen alleged head of LET in Australia, currently facing seven terror related charges.

· Izhar Ul Haque, currently facing charges in relation to a 20 day training course with LET in Pakistan.

· Bilal Kjazal, aka Abu Suhaib, and his brother, facing charges under new Australian terrorist laws.

· Zak/Zekky Mallah, currently facing terrorist related charges.

· Mukhtur Mohamed Sayid, with his wife Sitaka Bonjak, recently arrested in Nairobi, Kenya and deported.

· Murat Okfeli, aka Abu Zer, engaged in fundraising in 2002 and subsequently arrested in the Netherlands for membership of an organization linked to Al Qaeda.

· Salal Jamal, aka Ray Jamal, currently facing terrorist charges including being involved with Al Qaeda, planning terrorist attacks and possessing weapons in Lebanon. He skipped bail from Australia in March 2004 and traveled to Lebanon a false passport.

And they are just the few who have been publicity identified!

‘Patron’ of the new Lakemba mosque is Osama bin Laden’s mentor

Sheikh Omran and Sheikh Zoud have reportedly approached two prominent Saudi Sheikhs and jihadists; Sheikh Safar al Hawali who approved or ‘sanctioned’ the 9 /11 terror attacks and Sheikh al Qurni.

Sheikh Safar al Hawali is an apocalyptic Saudi fundamentalist ‘scholar’ who believes in a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam in which Islam will win by jihad. He has described the 9 11 terror attacks as an act of ‘measure for measure’ and blamed the US for directing ‘a psychological war at us’.

An identified member of the 9 11 Hamburg based terror cell was reportedly in phone contact with his office in Riyadh prior to the 9 11 attacks. He is one of the world’s most dangerous agents of inspiration of global terrorism and assessed as Osama bin Laden’s mentor.

Al Hawali is quoted approvingly by Bin Laden in his 1996 Epistle: ’for presenting evidence and proof that the presence of the Americans in the Arab peninsula is a pre-planned military occupation’ and part of an anti-Islamic conspiracy.

Source: Usama bin Laden’s Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Holy Places [Expel the Infidels from the Arab Peninsula]. Friday 9/4 1417A.H (23/8 1996 AD) Hindukush Mountains, Khurasan, Afghanistan.

The new mosque’s other patron is Sheikh al Qurni, who declared that it is imperative for Islamic states to acquire nuclear weapons ‘and use them against Western countries’, a belief fervently shared and pursued by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

According to Sheikh al Qurni, Arabs must reject the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty:

‘…there can be no agreement with [heretics] …concerning such weapons unless they either become Muslims or accept the reign of Islam’.

Strange patrons of peace for the new mosque!

Funding for the new mosque

Sheikh Abdul Zoud predictably and misleadingly claims the money is being raised in Australia and in his rhetorical style asked: ‘What is $2 million or 3 million for a community like Sydney [sic] or a Lakemba community or the Islamic community?’

Of course Sheik Zoud denies any involvement in the sordid and squalid task of collecting funds and of course he is involved. In May 2004, Sheikh Zoud approached four Muslim businessmen to raise the deposit for the mosque.

I was approached by Sheikh Zoud!

Dr. Tamer Kahil places the Sheikh’s disavowal in context. He sent an email to one of the four local Muslim businessmen involved with raising the deposit for the mosque. He writes in an email obtained by Australian ABC television:

I was approached by Sheikh Zoud, who explained to me the history of the mosque and what was happening to it [a] few weeks ago. I must [say] the effects of the mosque’s current facts gave me a feeling worse than the feeling we had viewing the rape of our Iraqi sisters by the American forces.

We did not know about our sisters’ ordeal, therefore, we have an excuse, and we simply could not, and are unable to help. We know about our mosque being slaughtered in front of our eyes. We are able to help and rescue the house of Allah.’

Source:ABC transcript

Nor has Zoud publicly acknowledged his supporters have established an offshore account for the mosque at the Saudi-based Al Rajihi Banking and Investment Company.

‘I have nothing to do with these matters except supporting and aiding as much as I can.’

Nothing to do with these matters except supporting aid as much as he can! Not only does the Sheikh declare war on the admittedly Western/Aristotelian law of contradiction, he also appears ‘unaware’ the Lakemba based group has communicated with the Saudi media and other contacts by fax, emails and text messages claiming it was necessary to raise the funds by the end of July 2004 to prevent the mosque being purchased by Jews or Buddhists!

Australian based Omran/ Zoud supporters are also falsely claiming that the Australian government is tightening the noose on Muslims to prevent the establishment of mosques. This regrettably false claim is inspiring for the readers of Al-Watan in Saudi Arabia. Al-Watan has another spin, declaring in a headline:


The text continues: ‘….Abu Osama, a member of the Australian Muslim community, said in a telephone call to Al Watan, that the Australian government is tightening the noose on Muslims, so as not to allow them to establish mosques…Jews and Buddhists are usually able to obtain permits to worship by purchasing churches, whereas Muslims cannot do that because church owners do not sell to Muslims’.

However, the newly ‘moderate’ Sheikh Hilaly told the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al –Awsat ‘….No Jewish group is trying to buy the property and they are spreading the rumor just to stir emotions and blackmail the faithful into giving support’. True! A good assessment for a non-English speaker.

Sheikh Omran is concerned with lebensraum – the oldest rationalization for expanding empire. He claims the Ahlus Sunnah Jamaah cannot cope with the increasing numbers of believers at the Haldon Street prayer hall as ‘the most influential Islamic organization in Australia with international links to 12 nationalities and the following of Melbourne’s biggest mosques’. Sheikh Omran is not burdened by modesty; maybe he is not boasting and perhaps telling the truth!

‘We have followers, believers, World wide, not [just] Australia wide…’

Sheikh Omran: ‘We take their mosque!’

Sheik Omran predictably denied he was competing with Sheikh Hilaly. After all, he could: ‘Take their mosque!’

‘…If we want to do that, we don’t buy a mosque’ he said, ‘we take their mosque…’

‘So it’s more easy for us to spend half that amount to move them out and take the mosque. We don’t have that intention in our heart at all.’

Sheikh Zoud always disavows his true intentions. He is a study in contraindication. If he denies he is involved in X, he will be involved in X and probably Y and Z!

Sheikh Hilaly: worried about radicals and extremists!

The ‘moderate’ Sheikh Hilaly of the Lebanese controlled Lakemba mosque with his newly found English language skills (where is trusty Trad the translator?) claims he is concerned the Omran/ Zoud group and their followers are extremists!

He has told his Saudi contacts and media assets that the mosque is unnecessary and expensive. It is only ten minutes walk from the Haldon Street prayer hall! And to Australian audiences he condemns his opponents as ‘Wahabis!’

And worse, Hilaly accuses them of a strategy he would not even contemplate – using funds from Arab states to recruit young university students and from youth centers! Evidently he has forgotten his rabid anti-Semitic speech at Sydney University in 1990 when he described Jews as ‘the underlying cause of all wars’ who ‘…tried to control the world through sexual perversion, espionage and economic hoarding’.

Sheikh Hilaly has even expressed concern officially criticizing the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs for permitting Islamic speakers visiting Australia to ‘brainwash’ young Muslims! He recently expressed his fear in an unfortunate but revealing metaphor:

‘…This is like dropping a bomb on the community; it is very divisive’.

Returning to his metaphorical style, the self professed ‘man of peace’, declared:

We have a few small chicks here who haven’t grown their feathers yet’, he said, ‘My job is to pluck them out before they get any bigger’.

But Sheikh Hilaly is facing the specter of generational conflict. The fine young Sheikhs are restless! They are the real funky fundamentalists! But behind the youth movements are shadowy manipulators.

Sheikh Shady [true name] el-Souleiman of the United Muslim Association in Lakemba and Sheik Omran’s ‘student’ Sheikh Fez Mohamed of the Global Islamic Youth Centre are also campaigning or conspiring, in the words of one supporter, to ‘…see him out of there’ to gain control of the Lakemba mosque at the management committee meeting in June 2004.

Key intelligence questions

  1. Are the four Salafi Sheikhs manipulating the campaign for the new mosque to de-authorize Sheikh Hilaly and target and guide disaffected youth into the burgeoning Islamic youth movement in Sydney and Australia?
  2. Are the Lakemba based and Sydney Sheikhs recruiting Islamic youth and future jihadists/ terrorists as part of the targeting doctrine in accordance with instructions from foreign jihadists and the Al Qaeda network?
  3. Will they continue to indoctrinate vulnerable and disaffected Islamic youth in the hate filled belief Australia is a kafir [infidel] country which discriminates against Muslims and Islam and that jihad is central to Islam?
  4. Could Sheikh Zoud, who publicly admires Osama bin Laden and in his words ‘… swears by God, by Allah’ he is not a terrorist, emerge as the covert leader of all Islamic fundamentalists in Australia?

The Salafi fundamentalist operational code elaborated in web publications, brochures, sermons and esoteric communications is simple: ’if I do not like you, I will kill you’. More subtly, ‘Islam is a religion of peace and I am opposed to terrorism, especially the killing of civilians’: Even less subtly, ‘If I do not like you – I am not obliged to tell you- you are Kaffir and have no right to live’.

Sheikh Zoud: ‘America is the enemy of the Human Race’

Sheik Zoud claims, ’America is the enemy of the human race altogether’ and boasts that his beliefs are shared by most Australian Muslims. For once, he is not boasting.

In his subtle, insidious yet paradoxically clear manner, Sheik Omran is issuing a threat.

Nevertheless, the proposed ‘new’ mosque symbolizes the ‘dangerous radicals’ struggle for dominance in Lakemba and its racked environs. The Sheikhs understand that if they control the youth / Islamic fundamentalist movements in Sydney they will assume control through Australia and the region.

Conflicts involving religious interests often conceal the salience of material interests. Underlying the Lakemba struggles is the Islamic will to power.

Power, status, prestige, access to millions of dollars from overt and covert foreign and local sources are at stake in the communal /political/religious struggles in Lakemba – the axis of evil in Australia. The struggle could have a significant effect on the national/ regional correlation of terrorism and emerge as a significant threat to Australian and American national security interests and concerns.

[Based on public information available at June 2004]

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