From brothel worker to terror accused

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 22 September 2014 | 20.01

The ABC's 7:30 Report provides an insight into the mind of Mohammad Baryalei; the man who police say issued the instruction that sparked a terrorist raid involving 800 AFP officers.

THE central figure in Australia's terror plot is a born-again zealot with a history of drug use, family violence and mental illness.

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Past life ... alleged terror kingpin Mohammad Baryalei used to be a party-loving Kings Cross brothel worker who loved gambling, women and drugs.

But before he became radicalised, the ABC's 7.30 has revealed, the alleged terror kingpin was a party-loving Kings Cross strip-club worker who loved gambling, women, and lots of cocaine.

Drug-fuelled lifestyle ... Mohammad Baryalei, who worked at Love Machine in Kings Cross, loved to party, say friends. Source: Supplied

Monash University terrorism expert Dr Peter Lentini told 7.30 people like Baryalei — those with troubled backgrounds — often saw conversion to Islam as a second chance.

"This type of a conversion gives them almost a second chance in life," he told the ABC.

On a mission .... Mohammad Ali Baryalei gained a devout following of young men. Source: Supplied

Baryalei, police allege, is behind an Islamic State plot to murder Australians on video.

NSW, Australian Federal Police and ASIO officers raided homes across Sydney and Brisbane last week after Baryalei allegedly spoke to Omarjan Azari by phone to discuss a plan to kidnap and murder – presumably by beheading – a random person on camera.

Baryalei — who was brought up in Sydney's northwest suburbs — was just a baby when his family fled Afghanistan.

Seven years later, they arrived at Sydney's Villawood detention centre.

The ABC says Baryalei's home life was troubled and he often clashed with his violet father.

After the September 11 attacks, something changed — he told friends he no longer felt welcome in Australia.

Troubled ... Mohammad Ali Baryalei told friends he was depressed. Source: Supplied

One friend told the ABC that Baryalei had suffered extreme bouts of depression and at one point spoke of suicide.

As a young man, he worked as a tout at John Ibrahim's Kings Cross brothel Love Machine.

Friends told 7.30 he embraced the fast-living, drug-fuelled lifestyle and liked to party hard.

Around this time, the ABC says, Baryalei had a religious epiphany and in 2012 he started going to a local mosque.

The one-time drug user became a born-again preacher and gained a devout following of young men in his mission to expose the failings of the Western world.

Secretly, he was recruiting his followers to take up arms in Syria and in April last year he travelled to the Middle East, the ABC says.

In April 2013 he reportedly travelled to the Turkey-Syria border, and soon joined up to Islamic State, where he has become the group's most senior Australian leader, allegedly responsible for recruiting foreign fighters.


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