Somalis in Melbourne support al-Shabaab ban
Melbourne (AlShahid) — The Somali community’s most senior cleric has backed the Australian government’s decision to ban terror group al-Shabaab, saying it will send a clear message to any possible Australian sympathisers.
Sheik Isse Musse, imam of the Virgin Mary Mosque at Werribee, in Melbourne’s southwest, said the government should have banned the Somali militant Islamist group as a terrorist organisation long before the recent arrests over an alleged plan to attack a Sydney army base.
Sheik Musse told The Australian yesterday the government’s move last week to ban the group in Australia would “send a clear signal to the community that to be involved with al-Shabaab and fight on their behalf is a dangerous thing”.
But he said al-Shabaab had few local sympathisers, despite the organisation being linked to an alleged terror plot planned for the Holsworthy army base.
“As far as I know, I don’t know anyone who officially represents al-Shabaab, but there may be people sympathetic of their cause,” the imam said.
Sheik Musse said the decision to outlaw the group — which came 18 months after the US listed al-Shabaab as a terrorist organisation — “should have been done a long time ago”.
“It (al-Shabaab) has gained some limelight. Many people would not think al-Shabaab would reach Australia and find a place in Australia,” he said.
Abdurahman Osman, who is president of the Somali community in Victoria, said al-Shabaab had no support among Somalis living in this country. He said the organisation raised its funds in the Middle East.
Speaking before three of the alleged Holsworthy terrorists applied for bail yesterday, Mr Osman said the overwhelming majority of the Somali community in Australia supported the release on bail of the accused men.
“It is what all the Somali population here wants,” he said. “We believe they are innocent and they did not commit any crimes. It is what we all believe.”
On the other hand three Somalis who were accused of being planning attacks on Australian military base were brought before a court today. The court started on Tuesday but it has not taken a decision yet.