‘Bon­nie and Clyde’ ji­hadists have turned to Je­sus, court told

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - JES­SICA CORTIS

The man de­scribed along with his part­ner as be­ing a ji­hadist “Bon­nie and Clyde’’ — they were found guilty of plot­ting a new year ter­ror at­tack in Syd­ney — has turned to Chris­tian­ity. And his wife wants to fol­low.

Alo-Brid­get Namoa and Sameh Bayda were mar­ried in an Is­lamic cer­e­mony at age 18, just a month be­fore they were charged with ter­ror of­fences.

They were later found guilty of plot­ting an at­tack.

Namoa and Bayda, now both 21, ap­peared in the NSW Supreme Court yes­ter­day for a sen­tenc­ing hear­ing dur­ing which psy­chi­a­trist Richard Furst pre­sented ev­i­dence that Namoa had “re­canted” her faith.

Dr Furst said her 2015 con­ver­sion to Is­lam was re­cent and it was dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine how strong her ad­her­ence to the re­li­gion was.

He said Namoa ad­mit­ted she had “no in­ter­est” in her faith. “My hus­band is Chris­tian now, I want to fol­low him,” she said in the psy­chi­atric re­port, the court heard.

Pros­e­cu­tors ar­gued that the be­lief it was ap­pro­pri­ate to kill some­one was a man­i­fes­ta­tion of a strong be­lief in the faith.

Dur­ing the hear­ing yes­ter­day, Bayda told judge Des Fagan that he had started learn­ing about the teach­ings of Chris­tian­ity.

He said he was se­cretly given a Bi­ble and had been read­ing it every day. He had also sought out a Chris­tian chap­lain af­ter hav­ing sui­ci­dal thoughts.

He said he con­vinced Namoa he was plan­ning an at­tack only so she would stay with him.

“I told her if she didn’t marry me, I was go­ing to do an at­tack and die,” he said.

Dur­ing the time the at­tack was planned, Namoa sent Bayda a mes­sage wish­ing him well and said “don’t let no one stop you”.

He told Jus­tice Fagan he was re­morse­ful and dis­gusted in him­self for bring­ing shame on to his fam­ily.

Namoa, who was raised by a strong Catholic fam­ily and went to John Berne Catholic school in Syd­ney’s west, pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted to the NSW Crime Com­mis­sion that she had be­gun sup­port­ing Is­lamic State af­ter down­load­ing and watch­ing vid- eos, in­clud­ing those de­pict­ing ex­e­cu­tions in­clud­ing be­head­ings.

At the time of the ar­rest, po­lice found Namoa’s hand­bag con­tained a hunt­ing knife wrapped in an Is­lamic flag and two mo­bile phones con­tain­ing books on ji­had ti­tled Sui­cide or mar­tyr­dom and How to sur­vive in the west.

Her hus­band’s mo­bile phone had in­struc­tions on how and where to carry out a suc­cess­ful knife at­tack and di­a­grams of hu­man tor­sos with ar­eas such as around the neck in­di­cated by red cir­cles.

The hear­ing will con­tinue next week.

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