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Listing of Ansar Al-Islam as a terrorist organisation.

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27 March 2003 31/03


The Howard Government has today gazetted a regulation listing Ansar Al-Islam as a terrorist organisation under counter-terrorism laws passed last year.

Listing Ansar Al-Islam as a terrorist organisation will serve to deter Australians from becoming involved in its activities.

It will also strengthen Australia’s ability to prosecute related offences under our counter-terrorism laws, which make it an offence to belong to, direct, recruit for, train with or provide training for, and receive funds from or make funds available to a terrorist organisation, whether in Australia or abroad. These offences carry penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment.

The regulation follows a decision by the United Nations Security Council on 24 February 2003 to identify Ansar Al-Islam as a terrorist group and recommendations by the Attorney-General’s Department and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which I received yesterday.

The regulation will take effect immediately.

On the assessment of our intelligence agencies, it is almost certain that Ansar Al-Islam is responsible for the murder of Australian cameraman Paul Moran.

Under Australian law, in order to list Ansar Al-Islam as a terrorist organisation, the Attorney-General must first be satisfied that the organisation has been identified by the UN Security Council in a decision relating wholly or party to terrorism, or in a mechanism under such a decision.

The requirement to wait for a UN Security Council listing - which unfortunately prevents Australia from acting independently to list a terrorist organisation - was the result of Opposition amendments to the Government’s counter-terrorism legislation, passed by the Parliament last July.

In addition to the requirement that the United Nations must first list an organisation, the Attorney-General must also be satisfied that the organisation is engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act. I am satisfied that the conditions for listing Ansar Al-Islam under Australian law have been met.

Ansar Al-Islam is based in north-eastern Iraq and is closely affiliated with Al Qaida, which has already been listed as a terrorist organisation by the UN Security Council and under Australia’s counter-terrorism legislation.

Media Contact: Carina Tan-Van Baren (02) 6277 7300/ 0419 423 965


Ansar Al-Islam members have trained in Al Qaida facilities in Afghanistan and Al Qaida has provided financial assistance to Ansar Al-Islam. Ansar Al-Islam has also been involved in a number of terrorist activities in Iraq.

Ansar Al-Islam

Ansar Al-Islam is a Kurdish Sunni Islamic extremist group which follows the same fundamentalist interpretation of Islam as Al Qaida and forms part of the Al Qaida network.

Formerly known as Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), Ansar Al-Islam was established in September 2001 as a result of a merger of several Kurdish Sunni groups, including a splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan.

Ansar Al-Islam is based in north-eastern Iraq and is dedicated to assisting Al Qaida in establishing an Islamic Caliphate throughout the Islamic world.

The leadership of Ansar Al-Islam includes Kurdish and Arab identities in Iraqi Kurdistan. Mullah Krekar, a senior leader with Norwegian citizenship, is currently under arrest in Oslo. Krekar has been charged with financing terrorism.

Ansar Al-Islam is closely affiliated with Al Qaida.

Ansar Al-Islam members have participated in the conflict in Afghanistan and have received Al Qaida training in that country. Al Qaida has also provided financial assistance to Ansar Al-Islam.

Ansar Al-Islam has been involved in a number of terrorist activities in Iraq, including:

• The attempted murder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister, Barham Saleh in April 2002;

• A suicide bombing at a military checkpoint in northern Iraq, killing the operative and three others, in February 2003;

• The assassination of General Shawkat Haji Mushir, a prominent Kurdish politican, in February 2003.

Ansar Al-Islam has also claimed involvement in killing dozens of Kurdish officials and soldiers since it became active. Civilians have died or been injured in Ansar Al-Islam’s suicide bombings, ambushes and assassinations that have occurred in the vicinity of villages it controls near the city of Halabja.

It is assessed that Ansar Al-Islam continues to be engaged in planned acts of violence to further its political and religious objectives.