Terror Offender Denies Plans were Not for Australia, but in Bangladesh Instead

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A Sydney man who’s pleaded guilty to a terrorism offence insists he never intended to carry out an attack in Australia, but in Bangladesh instead. Nowroz Amin sent online messages in 2015 and 2016 about “cook(ing) some recipes” and “open(ing) a restaurant” “in Australia” – code for making bombs, he admits. But Amin told the NSW Supreme Court on 20 September 2021 that he only wanted to give the impression that he knew bomb-makers in Australia, and it wasn’t really true.

Amin was first apprehended at Sydney airport in 2016 before being arrested and charged with terrorism offences two years later. He pleaded guilty in April to one count of preparing for or planning a terrorist act. In around 2015, he began to talk with his cousin and a friend in Bangladesh, where his family was from, about going there to engage in violence. He says he was angry at the Bangladeshi government’s crackdown on conservative Muslims.

“In our country it is the same situation,” he told his cousin’s friend, angry about Islamophobia in Australia. He had earlier found “a sense of belonging” when a caliphate was declared in Syria and Iraq, and had “an inclination” to travel to Syria to fight. He downloaded documents with instructions on how to make explosive devices and to fight. He claims he was indoctrinated by the material, which made him feel like he “had to do something” about the situation in Bangladesh. He was on his way to Bangladesh when authorities intercepted him at Sydney airport in February 2016. But he claims any messages hinting at possible terrorist violence in Australia was just boasting to try to gain acceptance by an extremist group in Bangladesh. In May 2015, he wrote to his cousin’s friend: “Everybody is saying that if you do not (go to Syria) then it becomes … mandatory over here … to make happen of something (where you live).”

That was a reference to Bangladesh, not Australia, he said.Later, he sent a message saying: “Our boys will open a restaurant now within a few weeks”. Asked where, he replied “Australia”.

“That was in reference to me giving off the impression that I knew of people in Australia who were willing to make explosives,” he told the court.

“The fact is, you did know people, didn’t you?” prosecutor Chris O’Donnell asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Amin replied.

On 20 September 2021, Amin explained that “restaurant” referred to a group of people who were willing to make bombs. Amin says that version of him has now died, and he has learned self-control and patience in prison.

“I do not believe in undertaking violence to make a difference,” he said.

“Due to my actions I’ve hurt myself, I’ve hurt my family, I’ve hurt my community and I’ve hurt this country.”

His actions have fed into a stereotype of Muslim people as terrorists and violent, he said. Amin’s sentence hearing continues before Justice Peter Garling.

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