'He never mixed with the community': Somali leaders condemn Brighton terrorist

Melbourne’s Somali community say they are heartbroken after discovering Brighton attacker Yacqub Khayre was Somali-born.


AAP Source: AAP

The Somali-born Melbourne man behind the Brighton terror attack has been condemned as a criminal by the Victorian Somali community who say he was ostracised from within.

Yacqub Khayre murdered a receptionist at the Buckingham Serviced Apartments in Brighton, Melbourne, on Monday and held an escort hostage before being killed in a shoot-out with police.

“He never mixed with the community,” Hussein Haraco, from the Somali Australian Council of Victoria told SBS World News.


Watch: Dr Hussein Haraco, Somali Australlian Council of Victoria

"We really as a community are shocked and we condemn the attack."

Dr Haraco said Khayre was a drug abuser and he suspected drugs were involved in Monday’s attack.

He also said Khayre's phone call to the media during last night's siege pledging allegiance to both Islamic State and Al-Qaeda proved he didn't understand the very groups he claimed to represent, let alone the religion.

“He said yesterday, 'I am doing this for ISIS and al-Qaeda' which sometimes surprises you," Dr Haraco said.

“Al- Qaeda and ISIS are not even friends. They fight each other, they kill each other.”

Aden Ibrahim, who knew Khayre since he arrived in Australia from Somalia via a refugee camp, said the community and to some extent even his own family shunned Khayre as he embarked on a life of drugs and crime while claiming to be Muslim.

“He was just a criminal,” Mr Ibrahim said.

“He was not representing anybody as far as I know, as far as I'm concerned. He was not representing the Somali community, he was not representing faith or Islam.”

Somali community member Abdul Liban said he was heartbroken discovering the attacker was Somalian. Now he fears reprisal attacks.

“It reflects badly on us because people are now going to have double thoughts," he said.

“We’re really disappointed, as good Muslims, going to the mosque, praying fasting and just living our life, peaceful – the true Islam.”

Dr Haraco said the incident not only damages the community’s work helping Somali youth struggling with drugs and joblessness, it also has hurt the community’s public standing.

“Whatever we are doing on integration and good things when this news comes in it damages.

“It takes you back another 10 years, 20 years back.”


3 min read
Published 6 June 2017 at 6:01pm
By Rashida Yosufzai
Source: SBS