An Australian judge has called on the country’s Muslims to publicly disavow “violent verses of the Quran that have inspired acts of terrorism.”
Justice Desmond Fagan said hostile verses in the Quran that support “intolerance, violence and domination” need to be denounced by the broader Islam community or they will “embolden terrorists to think they are in common cause with all believers.”
“The incitements to violence which terrorists quote from the Quran cannot just be ignored by the many believers who desire harmonious coexistence. Those verses are not ignored by terrorists,” Justice Fagan told the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday.
He made the comments while handing down sentences to husband and wife duo Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa who were jailed over planning a New Year’s Eve terrorist attack on Sydney.
“If the verses upon which the terrorists rely are not binding commands of Allah, it is Muslims who would have to say so,” Justice Fagan told the court.
“If Australian followers of the religion, including those who profess deep knowledge, were to make a clear public disavowal of these verses, as not authoritative instructions from Allah, then the terrorists’ moral conviction might be weakened.”
But Islamic Friendship Association of Australia founder Keysar Trad said he would be “very surprised” if the people Justice Fagan referred to have read the Quran in its entirety.
“Unfortunately what we have in Australia from time to time, we get people who are ignorant of the religion, they hear a word here or there and want justification for their own behaviour,” Mt Trad said.
Bayda and Namoa were found guilty in October of conspiring between December 8, 2015 and January 25, 2016 to do an act in preparation for a terrorist act.
Bayda was sentenced four years behind bars, without parole for three years while Namoa was jailed for three years and nine months without parole for a period of two years and 10 months.
Bayda went out on New Year’s Eve 2015 to target non-Muslims but could not go through with the attack.
Justice Fagan noted that Bayda had no real intention to going through with the terrorist act.