Community Safety

Arrested teen wanted 'to target Jews', say police

May 3, 2024

Friday 03 May 2024
Peter Kohn
Australian Jewish News

 Jewish leaders and political figures have called for a more urgent approach  to strengthening anti-hate laws after a group of Sydney teenagers, calling  themselves "Soldiers of Allah", were charged over allegedly  plotting a terrorist attack on Jews.
 A group of males were taken into custody by NSW Police in anti-terrorism  operations and charged in the Children's Court following an attack in  Sydney's west last month, at which another individual allegedly stabbed  Christian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.
 Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported that allegations against four of the teens  included chat on the encrypted Signal app about obtaining and storing guns.  Police alleged comments made within the group included, "I wanna die and  I wanna kill . I'm just excited . Is your plan to get caught or die or  escape?" Another allegedly stated, "I really want to target the  yahood [Jewish people] . we will plan it." Describing the police  fact-sheet as "chilling", Executive Council of Australian Jewry  co-CEO Peter Wertheim said, "The hatreds and violence of overseas  conflicts have been imported into Australia, and are poisoning our peaceful  and tolerant way of life. At the heart of the problem are teenage boys  wallowing in a toxic brew of sexual repression, stunted emotions and warped  religiosity. The fact that some of them may suffer from mental health issues  does not diminish the terrorist nature of their conduct. The two are not  mutually exclusive." Zionist Federation of Australia CEO Alon Cassuto  stated, "It's both concerning and unsurprising to hear reports that the  arrested teens who exchanged messages about jihad also expressed a desire to  target Jews. The combination of hate-filled sermons and the relentless  repetition of lies about Israel online means it's sadly predictable that  teens could develop a deepseated hatred for Jews. Lives are at risk."  Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin  Rubenstein said, "At a time when ASIO says the primary terror threat in  Australia comes from religiously motivated violent extremism, and that we  face a 50/50 possibility of a significant terrorist attack in the next 12  months, most Australians know that Islamist terror targets Jews. Teenagers  are pointy weapons in a familiar toolbox of terrorism.
 Lone-wolf attacks do not occur in a vacuum nor alone. Individuals such as  these are radicalised by the hatred and incitement." NSW Liberal Senator  Dave Sharma told The AJN reports the teens were planning to attack Jews are  deeply concerning.
 "For too long now, since the Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7, we  have seen a few Islamic preachers espousing hatred towards Jews, in  well-publicised incidents, and with no consequence." Home Affairs  Minister Clare O'Neil told media, "It is correct to say that we are  seeing a trend where it is harder for us to discern when a terrorist attack  like this may occur, but I would say that police and our law enforcement  officials are very good at this and I'm confident in their abilities."  Victorian Senator James Paterson, Home Affairs shadow minister, described the  police allegations as "further evidence of the worsening crisis of  antisemitism within Australia. This comes after repeated instances of state  and federal governments abjectly failing to enforce anti-incitement laws in  response to hateful rhetoric from preachers who are indoctrinating young  people with violent and extremist ideologies."

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