Custody extended for Islamic hate preacher
An alleged Islamic hate preacher who was arrested in Vienna over claims he is the mastermind of a terrorist network recruited 64 fighters for Islamic jihad and did shooting and combat training in Vienna to prepare to fight in Syria, according to the prosecutor in Graz.
Mirsad O., who goes by the name Ebu Tejma, is a 33-year-old unemployed benefits claimant. He and his pregnant wife and their five children live in a council flat in Vienna.
He was arrested at the end of November when heavily armed police stormed his home, as part of a series of nationwide raids involving hundreds of officers.
A court in Graz has just ruled that Tejma should continue to be held in police custody while investigations continue.
Tejma’s lawyer denies all the charges while police and prosecutors sift through the evidence, and question his associates.
Security service insiders believe that he is one of the leaders of the so called 'Bosnian cell' based in the Meidling district of Vienna that provided logistic and financial support centres for jihadist activities in Europe.
Originally from the small Serbian town of Tutin, Tejma was known in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a preacher of hatred and intolerance.
For the past two years, Austrian intelligence officials have been tapping his communications, monitoring his phone calls and building up a picture of his network. He and 12 others were arrested in the raids on November 28th.
Investigators saw a constant stream of Salafist Muslims while monitoring the Altun Alem mosque in Vienna’s 2nd district during their operation.
The prosecutor in Graz has said that Tejma is "a chief ideologist for the global jihadist movement".
Investigators said that by April 2014 52 people had been radicalized at the Altun Alem mosque and left Austria to join Isis. Twelve other Islamists from Styria and Upper Austria who came in contact with Tejma also left to join Isis.
Some of them were killed and some have since returned to Austria. The majority of the people he radicalized are said to be young Muslims between the ages of 15 and 30.
Tejma studied Arabic and Islamic Law in Mecca between 2002 and 2008, and reportedly received a scholarship from Saudi Arabia to do so.
He is said to have considered going to Syria himself and completed martial arts training and a shooting course at a Vienna-based organization for Chechen Muslims.