Brainwashed A supporter of terrorism in New South Wales who used young children in Islamic State propaganda has been arrested.
A Sydney man sentenced to at least two years and 11 months in prison for using young children in his own extremist video propaganda after blindly following Islamic State militants.
Youssef Uweinat, 23, pleaded guilty to being a member of IS between June and December 2019 while knowing it was a terrorist organization and to advocating for the commission of a terrorist act.
Justice Geoffrey Bellew acknowledged in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday that the young man's immaturity and fragility at the age of 21 contributed to his being "dragged into the offence by others."
Uweinat will be eligible for parole for the first time in November 2022.
Following his arrest in December 2019 at his Riverwood residence, Uweinat claims to have entirely rejected his membership in IS and informed the court that he now understands their view of Islam is "barbaric."
Uweinat's five-month "short-lived" offenses included a video in August 2019 of a small child wearing a school uniform and a black and white mask pointing their finger up in a symbolic IS gesture known as "Tawhid."
"Allah is the greatest," the toddler says in response to Uweinat's request that they "exalt Allah."
On the child's forehead, an image of the IS flag was overlaid.
He admitted during cross-examination that he felt "dumb" for involving at least one small child, acknowledging the significant influence it may have on an impressionable mind.
According to the judge, this "grossly underestimated its significance."
He also used social media sites to promote and encourage terrorism-related offenses, posting multiple messages in a single discussion.
Among them were the following: "Reasons for Jihad. To prevent the disbelievers from dominating. Due of a lack of men. Fear of the wrath of God. Fulfilling the jihadi obligation and answering to the Lord's call."
In August 2019, an image of a photograph taken in Ainslie, Canberra, was discovered on another person's computing device.
Uweinat was standing in a ute with an image of Parliament House overlaid with the IS flag and the statement "ready to take over or become green birds."
While he stated that the graphic depicted a possible martyrdom exercise in the nation's capital, he stated that he "never endorsed terrorist acts in Australia."
The judge said he was "genuinely repentant" for his acts, citing a letter in which Uweinat admitted to being young and foolish in believing IS was fighting for a worthy cause.
"I believe that everything I said was untrue and incorrect," he stated.
He was compelled to leave IS after conducting his own investigation into the true meaning of Islam and reading the Koran, only to discover that IS utilized just portions of the text to support their acts.
"I would argue that IS propaganda indoctrinated me," he explained.
He was "extremely humiliated" by his acts and wished to put them behind him, hoping that his release would inspire young Australians to reject radicalism.
And, while the judge determined that his prospects for rehabilitation were generally favorable, he underlined an expert's judgment that his extreme beliefs would resurface in association with such individuals.
Three letters from a self-declared commander of Sydney's IS community were discovered in his prison cell in May 2020, and Justice Bellew stated that they demonstrated an ongoing threat of association.
According to a prison chaplain who has dealt with the majority of NSW's terror-related prisoners, Uweinat had ceased to be a religious extremist and posed no threat to society.
Justice Bellew condemned him to a total of three years and eleven months in jail.