Anti-terror police seized guns and a computer memory stick allegedly containing extremist material in a series of co-ordinated raids. Search warrants were executed on 11 properties in Narre Warren South, Craigieburn, Hallam, Officer, Springvale South and Noble Park.
A man, 23, from Officer in Melbourne’s southeast, last night was set to be charged with collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts. The maximum penalty for the offence is 15 years jail. Imitation firearms and computer equipment also were uncovered in the joint raid by Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police.
Among properties raided was the Al-Furqan Centre, an Islamic information centre in Springvale South. The centre also engages in religious instruction and conducts lectures on Islam. Its website carries videos of Islamist militia fighting in the Arab world, such as the uprising in Syria, separatists in Mali and reports of the Taliban infiltrating the Afghan army.
AFP acting national manager counter terrorism Justine Saunders said the operation was an example of proactive law enforcement action to prevent terrorist activity in Australia. “The AFP is committed to working with state and territory police and the community in order to counter the ongoing and enduring threat of terrorism and ensure the safety and security of the community,” Saunders said.
The Islamic Council of Victoria was briefed by Victoria Police within hours of the raids. Council secretary Sherene Hassan said the organisation was concerned at any terrorism allegations. “It’s reassuring that the authorities are being absolutely vigilant in trying to keep our community safe,” she said. Hassan described Al Furqan as a “marginalised” group.