He was depressed, you see, and unskilled, and that led him to Misunderstand Islam. The judicial rulings in “Provisions of the Rules of Jihad”? Ignore them. They are of no importance. He was depressed, remember. He was unskilled. And he doesn’t believe any of it, either. “Jihad book editor ‘renounced terrorism,'” by Katelyn Catanzariti for AAP, July 31 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A Sydney man who produced a do-it-yourself jihad book did not realise he was committing a crime but has since renounced terrorism and violence, his sentencing judge has been told.
Whew! What a relief!
In September last year, a NSW Supreme Court jury found Belal Khazaal guilty of making a document – between September 20 and 23, 2003 – connected with assistance in a terrorist act and knowing about that connection.
The 110-page book, in Arabic, entitled Provisions of the Rules of Jihad – short judicial rulings and organisational instructions for fighters and mujahideen against infidels, contained advice about terrorist acts such as exploding bombs, shooting down planes and assassinating people such as former US president George W Bush.
The jury could not reach a verdict on a second charge, that by posting the book online, Khazaal attempted to incite others to engage in a terrorist act.
During sentencing submissions on Friday the court was told Khazaal had no concept that what he had done was considered illegal.
“His explanation was he didn’t understand it was a crime but he understood he’d been convicted,” psychiatrist Dr Olav Nielsen told Justice Megan Latham.
Lawyers for the 38-year-old from Lakemba in Sydney’s southwest told the judge that as soon as Khazaal realised that what he had done was a crime, he removed the information from the website.
“That he removed it from the site should mitigate the offence,” George Thomas said.
“If he was so obsessed and extremist in his position, do you think he’d care enough to take it off? Of course he wouldn’t.”
Why not? An obsessed extremist can’t try to save his own skin?
“He completely renounced terrorism and violence.”
However, crown prosecutor Peter Neil SC argued Khazaal had shown no remorse whatsoever.
“There is a complete failure on the part of the offender to acknowledge having done anything wrong at all,” he said.
A psychologist gave evidence to the court that it was “highly likely” Khazaal had been suffering from depression brought about by a car accident many years before and separation from his parents as a child.
“This was the behaviour of a person who was living an isolated life … he was not educated in a formal sense … he is a person who took to religion and it was conservative Islam … necessarily extremist in its nature … and he lost his way,” Mr Thomas said.
“He did exercise very poor judgment.
“If perhaps he was more skilled, more educated, if his life had developed differently – if he was more alive to the changes in the law that had taken place, perhaps there would have been a different outcome … things may well have been very, very different.”…