Ram-raid Muslim radicals - police fear crimes are funding Syrian war fighters
COUNTER-terrorism officers have charged a figurehead of last year's Muslim riots and infamous Sharia "whipping" case over an attempted ATM ram-raid in Sydney's north.Wassim Fayad, 46, one of two head spokesmen during the riots, was arrested at 7.30am last Friday at Auburn and charged over the failed ram-raid involving at least two other men at North Ryde on May 15.
The investigation, kept under wraps until now, has been continuing for several months, running at the same time as another case with the Joint-Counter Terrorism Team examining a syndicate sending young Australian Muslims to fight in the Syrian civil war. Police also have been investigating Fayad's activities to see whether he has any connection with the Syrian syndicate.
While the ATM attack would normally be left with local authorities, counter terror police are understood to have led the investigation because of their interest in how the alleged assailants had planned to spend the proceeds of the crime.
In 2011, Fayad was one of two central leaders at the infamous riots in Sydney's CBD though he worked with police and made public statements to try to quell the angry crowd.
Earlier that year he told The Sunday Telegraph after the death of Osama bin Laden that the 9/11 mastermind "died a martyr".
Fayad is presently on bail, a court heard last week, awaiting the outcome of an appeal against a two-year sentence he received for his role in whipping a Muslim convert who confessed to drinking alcohol and taking drugs in 2011.
The new charge, laid by the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, is over the aggravated break and enter on a shopping centre at Waterloo Rd, North Ryde - his bail was revoked after the charge was laid.
The incident involved a four-wheel drive and a van driven into the shopping centre about 4am. Police will allege the four-wheel drive was used to ram two ATMs before Fayad and at least two others allegedly tried to access the cash inside. They left empty-handed.
Fayad was also charged last week by the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad with being an accessory after the fact in an unrelated attempt to murder case - he appeared in court on both charges.
That accessory charge was laid following an investigation into the attempted murder of a man outside the Aarows sex club at Rydalmere, on May 1, two weeks before the alleged ATM attack.