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Scholar warned of extremist influence -

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ELEANOR HALL: Two years ago an Islamic scholar and Somali community leader in Sydney warned that
young Somali refugees in Melbourne were being seduced by Islamic extremists.

Dr Herse Hilole is now a resident academic at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur.
A short time ago he spoke to me from there about today's raids:

HERSE HILOLE: Well, you know I expected these terrorist activities in Australia

ELEANOR HALL: You were warning of something like this a couple of years ago; what was it that
roused your suspicions?

HERSE HILOLE: My suspicion was that those young Somali Muslims could be or may be used in the
future to carry some terrorist activities in Australia.

ELEANOR HALL: Why would they carry out terrorist activities in Australia?

HERSE HILOLE: There are so many reasons in fact, not only one.

One reason is the situation of the Somali community in Australia [inaudible] but you know those
Somalis were there last 15 years and they are still in the ground zero. Their situation is not
changed much.

The other thing is that the background they came from Somalia and Somalia is a country that is
suffering from this civil war.

ELEANOR HALL: Well, Somalia hasn't had an effective government for decades; why are we seeing this
international spread now?

HERSE HILOLE: One of the reasons is that, you know, in Somalia the situation changed from time to
time and sometimes these groups or local warlords become more strong than they were earlier. So now
these Al Shabab are the most strongest group in Somalia and they are trying to get support from
overseas.

ELEANOR HALL: So, what more can you tell us about this group Al Shabab? I mean, what are its links
to the Islamic group that governs Somalia for several months in 2006 and did manage to bring some
order to the country?

DR HERSE HILOLE: Well Al Shabab, as you know, it was the military wing of Islamic Courts and when
the leaders or some of the leaders of Islamic Courts went into the negotiation with the rest of
Somali leaders, Al Shabab could not accept this and they wanted to do the things in their own way.

ELEANOR HALL: There were also concerns in the United States earlier this year about the recruitment
of several young men from the Somali community there, why is Al Shabab looking to recruit in
Australia and in the United States if its real interest in the government in Somalia?

HERSE HILOLE: As you know, Al Shabab is not confined to Somalia. Their objective is to do so many
things in many different places and their agenda is in line with Al Qaeda's agenda. In the case of
the Somalis in Australia it is quite different.

I believe there is Somalis, young people in Australia, not themselves members of Al Qaeda but they
are used by people who are working for Al Qaeda or working for Al Shabab.

ELEANOR HALL: There were also Lebanese Australians arrested; what do you make of this apparent link
between these two communities?

HERSE HILOLE: I mentioned this earlier, two years ago I said that Lebanese members of... maybe...
of group linked to Al Qaeda influenced the Somali young people.

ELEANOR HALL: You say you raised this two years ago; are you satisfied with the official Australian
response?

HERSE HILOLE: Well the response at the beginning was good but the current Government of Australia
seems that they did not take this seriously. And I proposed last year a project to help this
situation but my project was rejected by the Government.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Islamic scholar Dr Herse Hilole, speaking to me from Malaysia.