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