Somalian spiritual leader Hersi Hilole yesterday warned that young men returning from their jihad mission against the Ethiopian-backed Somalian Government were more likely to consider becoming involved in a terrorist attack on Australia.
"Now when they come back, how are they going to join the rest of society?" Sheik Hilole said. "There is a great danger that they could carry out any kind of terrorist activity here."
Sheik Hilole, chairman of the Somali Community Council of Australia, said hardline clerics in Melbourne continued to "prey" on young Somalian men, whose welcoming attitudes to Wahabism - a puritanical interpretation of Islam espoused by Osama bin Laden - were a result of the ideology's prevalance in their home country.
He said the Somalian spiritual leaders preaching Wahabism had gone further "underground", following an Australian Federal Police investigation into claims that some Somalian community members were sending money home to assist the Islamic Courts movement that has been accused by the US of harbouring al-Qa'ida operatives. The AFP investigation, revealed in The Australian in April, is continuing.
"Some of these religious leaders who are teaching these radical ideas to the young people now have gone underground," Sheik Hilole said.
The Australian revealed yesterday that a Somalian man from Melbourne, Ahmed Ali, who travelled to Somalia in December to fight alongside the Islamic Courts movement after telling his mother he was going to Dubai, was believed to be working as an interpreter with al-Qa'ida.
Mr Ali's mother also accused Melbourne's ultra-radical Islamic spiritual leader Mohammed Omran of radicalising her son. A spokesman for Sheik Omran rejected her claims.