ISIS member who tried to burn down a Melbourne Mosque lash out at a jury after being found guilty
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Islamic State terrorist who tried to burn down a Melbourne Mosque have angrily lashed out at a jury after a guilty verdict was called.
Abdullah Chaarani, 28, Ahmed Mohamed, 26, and Hatim Moukhaiber, 30, appeared in court on Thursday charged with crimes over the burning of the Imam Ali Islamic Centre at Fawkner on December 11, 2016.
The jury found the trio guilty and when the verdict was called out family members reacted badly to the news.
‘What are you doing? You dogs,’ an older woman yelled at the jury before being asked to leave.
Moukhaiber took it upon himself to also yell across the court calling the police and jury ‘oppressors and dogs’, ABC News reported.
The court was closed shortly following the outbursts.
Mohamed and Moukhaiber told the court they had no involvement in the hate crime attack, while Chaarani argued that he was only part of a protest, advocacy or dissent, and not terrorism.
During the trial, prosecutor Nicholas Robinson QC argued Chaarani’s involvement was terrorism because the Shia mosque was targeted to intimidate Shia Muslims.
‘It is a clear indication that those who attacked the mosque and destroyed it were branding it as action … supported by Islamic State,’ Mr Robinson told the court.
Chaarani and Mohamed were also found guilty of attempting to commit a terrorist act over a failed first attempt to attack the mosque on November 25 the same year.
In the early hours of that fateful morning, the trio wrote on the mosque ‘Islamic State’ in both English and Arabic. They also set parts of it on fire causing $1.5 million in damage, ABC News reported.
CCTV footage played in court at the time of the trios arrest showed Chaarani spray painting ‘Islamic State’ on the walls while Mohamed entered the building while carrying a white plastic container and car tyre.
Moukhaiber was seen following Mohamed with another fire and it is believed they lit the tyres on fire before running out.
On November 25 that year, Chaarani and Mohamed tried to set fire to rugs at the mosque but the fire fizzled out.
Mr Robinson said the trio returned on December 11 to complete their mission of destroying their mosque as they arrived with a 20 litre container of petrol, news.com.au reported.
‘They tried to set it on fire. They failed. So they came back two-and-a-bit weeks later armed with a lot more petrol and more things to make it burn,’ he told the court.
Mohamed’s lawyer John Kelly told the court that it is not his client who appears in the security footage no ‘matter how many times you view’ it.
Moukhaiber’s representation Felicity Gerry said the Mosque was constantly targeted and said there were other suspects with ‘large builds, shave heads and beards’, like her client who could be seen in the CCTV footage.
The three men will be sentenced at a later date.
Source: Daily Mail