Australian Muslims Condemn Terror Plot

Australian Muslims vehemently condemned an alleged plot to attack army barracks as contrary to the very essence of Islam, while voicing concerns that knee-jerk reactions would victimize many innocent Muslims.

Australian Muslims vehemently condemned an alleged plot to attack army barracks as contrary to the very essence of Islam, while voicing concerns that knee-jerk reactions would victimize many innocent Muslims.

"I condemn these acts in the strongest of terms on behalf of the members of the Somali community in Queensland," Hussein Ahmed, the United Somali Association President, told The Courier on Wednesday, August 5.

Police have charged four Australians of Somali and Lebanese backgrounds of plotting a shooting attack against Sydney's Holsworthy Barracks, home to thousands of troops including a major anti-extremism unit.

They said the terror operation was in its final stages and the men were ready to storm the barracks with automatic weapons.

In Meadow Heights, a northern suburb in Melbourne where one of the defendants lived, Muslims were abhorred by the idea of any attack on their homeland.

"A Muslim cannot be a terrorist; a terrorist cannot be a Muslim," stressed Tahir Solak, a spokesman at a nearby mosque.

Antione Ghanem, a spokesman for the World Lebanese Cultural Union Queensland, agrees.

"The Lebanese community is concerned about the security of this country just like everybody else."

Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.5 percent of its 20-million population.

"It's not really surprising that this kind of situation has occurred," Clive Williams, a security expert with the Australian National University, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"The people who engage in these sorts of activities are usually opposed almost invariably to our foreign policies."

Australia, which had deployed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, has not been hit by terror attacks since a 1978 bombing outside a Sydney hotel killed three people.

But it has lost lives in attacks abroad, including 92 on Indonesia's resort island of Bali in 2002 and 2005 and three in last month's Jakarta hotel blasts.

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