I = News Item in NewsCom.au, 31 August 2018, entitled “Sydney man charged with terror offences”
A SRI Lankan man working at a Sydney university has been charged over a document that police allege contained plans for terrorist attacks. Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen was arrested by counter-terrorism officers at the University of NSW in Kensington on Thursday. It followed a tip-off from a worker at the university, who police said found a notebook that allegedly named several locations and individuals as “potential targets”. “They are symbolic locations within Sydney,” Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Sheehy told reporters on Friday.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported the targets included former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, while landmarks on the hit list included the Sydney Opera House and railway and police stations. “We have both psychologists and investigators looking at that document to try to interpret the intent and capability, but that is in essence the offence that is before the court.”
A number of other electronic items were also seized during a raid at a unit at Zetland early on Friday morning. The 25-year-old was charged with collecting or making a document which is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act. “The charges laid against this person are serious and significant, and should not be underestimated,” Australian Federal Police Detective Superintendent Michael McTiernan said.
Nizamdeen is in Australia on a student visa that expires in September. Police say he is believed to be affiliated with Islamic State but he has not been charged with being a member of a terrorist group.
He was employed as a contractor at the University of NSW and has allegedly travelled back to Sri Lanka and other areas. Nizamdeen, who’s in Australia on a student visa that’s due to expire next month, is a poster boy for UNSW’s Hero Program, where he collaborated with Deloitte and IBM as part of an innovation initiative in 2015.
The commerce graduate has worked as a business systems analyst for the institution since 2016 on projects including Microsoft Office’s 365 — a cyber security mobile app — and Identity and Access Management products, which safeguard user access to critical information within an organisation.
Police said he was not known to police and does not have any criminal history in Australia. The case was briefly mentioned at Waverley Local Court on Friday. Nizamdeen did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.
The University of NSW said the safety and wellbeing of staff and students on campus was its highest priority. “We will continue to assist police with their investigations and to act on the advice of NSW police,” a spokeswoman told AAP.
After the arrest yesterday, a search warrant was executed at a unit on Defries Avenue at Zetland about 2am this morning. During the search, a number of electronic items were seized for further examination.
Nizamdeen was taken to Maroubra Police Station and charged with collecting or making a document which is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act. AFP detective superintendent Michael McTiernan said the charges were “serious and significant”. “It is quite a significant document which requires further analysis,” he said. “At this stage there is a number of locations and individuals named in that document who are potential targets.”
The dramatic swoop was part of an investigation conducted by the NSW Joint Counter-Terrorism Team (JCTT). Members of the team arrested the man yesterday at Kensington, in Sydney’s southeast. The JCTT is made up of officers from the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission.
Police say the man has recently travelled back and forth from Australia and Sri Lanka, as well as “other regions”,however they did not specify where.
NSW Police detective acting superintendent Michael Sheehy said there was currently no concerns for public safety “This is clearly an offence in relation to the preparation of a document,” he said. “It is not an offence in relation to capability of this individual.”
Police said Mr Nizamdeen’s visa was to expire in September, and that he was in the process of applying for another one. Nizamdeen will return to court on October 24.
– with Ben Graham
A PhD student working at the University of NSW has been arrested by police after a notebook allegedly containing terrorist ideology inspired by Islamic State was found on the eastern suburbs campus. Police on Friday said a colleague of 25-year-old Sri Lankan national Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen found the notebook filled with locations and individuals that would be the subject of an alleged terrorist plot. It is understood that the alleged potential attack was planned for several months away and involved iconic landmarks in Sydney.
Police were called to the university, where Mr Nizamdeen works as an IT contractor, on Thursday and arrested and charged him with making a document connected to the preparation of a terrorist act. “They are symbolic locations within Sydney,” said NSW Police’s Detective acting Superintendent Mick Sheehy at a press conference on Friday morning.
The PhD student was acting as a lone wolf, but “from documentation, he would affiliate with ISIS”, acting Superintendent Sheehy said.
A Sri Lankan national is alleged to have had a notebook containing Islamic State-inspired ideology, and was allegedly planning a terrorist attack involving iconic landmarks.Mr Nizamdeen has been in Australia on a student visa for several years completing his post-graduate studies.
He has returned to his native Sri Lanka and “other areas”, although police refused to specify where exactly he had visited.
After arresting him at the university during the day, police executed a search warrant on his Zetland address in the middle of the night and a number of electronic items were seized for further examination.
Police plan to conduct further searches on campus on Friday.
Australian Federal Police’s Detective Superintendent Michael McTiernan told reporters that, while there was no ongoing threat to the public, the allegations of what was contained in the notebook were extremely serious.”The charges laid against this person are serious and should not be underestimated. Today’s result highlights the critical role the community plays in assisting us combat terrorism,” he said.
Mr Nizamdeen, who is understood to have no family ties in Australia, briefly faced Waverley Local Court on Friday morning. He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.He will return to court in eight weeks
The 9News Video coverage on Day One = https://twitter.com/9NewsSyd/status/1035438507362148353
For an attempt at defending Nizamdeen that is clearly premature and alsos seeks to have it both ways, see article by MM Zuhair in The Island of 5th September 2018 = http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=190711
Michael Roberts:“Lone Cell Assaults: From Boston to Westmead-in-Sydney to the Unabomber. Inspirations and Enabling Conditions in Comparative Perspective,” 19 April 2013, https://thuppahis.com/2013/04/19/lone-cell-assaults-from-boston-to-westmead-in-sydney-to-the-unabomber-inspirations-and-enabling-conditions-in-comparative-perspective/
First Sri Lankan Killed In Syria With ISIS: Investigate And Punish All – Muslim Council Tells Sirisena
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has today called upon the President Maithripala Sirisena and the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct a thorough investigation, punish all who may have violated the laws of the land, and ensure that no more Sri Lankans are misled in to joining any terrorist movement.
Writing to the President the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka said; “The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Muslim Community expresses its deep dismay at media reports of the first Sri Lankan killed in battle in Syria with IS. This group of extremists who call themselves the caliphate or Islamic State (Formerly known as ISIS) is a threat to Islam and the group violates both Sharia law and humanitarian law.
“Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance that totally prohibits the taking of innocent lives. There is no theological basis for any crimes to be committed through terrorism or violence. The Muslims of Sri Lanka join Islamic scholars and Muslim leaders around the world to condemn without any reservation the ISIS and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for failing to respect key tenants of Islam. Their actions are un-Islamic and inhumane.
“While we wish to emphasize that these are actions of misguided individuals, we call upon Your Excellency and the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct a thorough investigation, punish all who may have violated the laws of the land, and ensure that no more Sri Lankans are misled in to joining any terrorist movement.
“As civil society representatives of Muslims, we commit to help in any investigation and action that would be initiated by the government.”
According to the media reports, a karate master from Galewela, known in the Islamic State as Abu Shuraih Sailani (not the real name) who has been reportedly killed in Syria in an air strike last week is said to be the first Sri Lankan member of the ISIS. Abhu Shuraih Sailani, 37, after completing his GCE O/L, has pursued Islamic studies with great zeal mastering Hadith science and continued on contemporary Fiqh (The theory or philosophy of Islamic law, based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet), completing his LLB in Shariah Law from the International Islamic University in Pakistan.