The Benbrika Jama’ah: “The Reward of the Mujahid”

  • Joshua M. Roose
Part of the New Directions in Islam book series (NDI)


In the decade 2001–2011, one group of Australian-born Muslim men came to the forefront of government, media, and wider public consciousness to an unprecedented degree. In 2005 the Benbrika Jama’ah became the first Australian Muslims subjected to Australia’s new counter-terrorism laws, being arrested as part of Operation Pendennis, a multi-agency operation involving the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and Victoria Police. This resulted in the 2008 conviction of Jama’ah members and their leader, Algerian-born Abdul Nacer Benbrika, making them Australia’s first convicted terrorists. These young men moved from a highly marginalized position with the fields of power and Muslim cultural politics to central to political debates within both. Far from achieving their goals, group members could be considered to have reinforced and indeed strengthened the position of the dominant hegemonies they were seeking to act against. Due to the nature of their attempted action the Benbrika Jama’ah serve as an important comparative study of political action by Australian-born Muslim men. This chapter, based on an analysis of transcripts and wider sources, seeks to develop an understanding of the Jama’ah’s identity, social influences, and how these have interacted to shape their seeking to act politically.1


Cultural Capital Muslim Community Symbolic Capital Credit Card Fraud Australian Football League 
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© Joshua M. Roose 2016

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  • Joshua M. Roose

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