A young Sydney woman who aspired to be part of a “jihadi Bonnie and Clyde” has told a judge she’s now shed her hijab and her “disgusting” fanatical extremist views.
Alo-Bridget Namoa testified that her texts encouraging Sameh Bayda to carry out a terrorist attack were the actions of a “childish, inquisitive hypothetically-thinking” teenager.
The 21-year-old, who wore a hijab during her Supreme Court trial and at the first day of her sentencing hearing a week ago, did not wear the head-covering in court on Friday when she gave evidence.
Namoa and Bayda, both 18 when they married in an Islamic ceremony in 2015, were found guilty in October of conspiring between early December 2015 and late January 2016 to do an act in preparation for a terrorist act.
The Crown contended their plan was for a New Years Eve attack by Bayda, who sent his new wife a selfie of him masked and giving the ISIS one-finger salute.
Their phones contained a vast amount of extremist material, including graphic images and videos of beheadings and soldiers carrying Islamic flags, and communications to each other.
Namoa referred to them as a jihadi Bonnie and Clyde.
Bayda on Friday denied he’s only pretending to have renounced Islam and found Christianity in a bid to get a lighter sentence.
While he still loved Namoa and wished to stay with her, he said he did not now consider them to be married as the ceremony was under Sharia law, not Australian law.
“The marriage was broken since we both left the religion,” he said.
Namoa told the court her parents were from Tonga and she was brought up Catholic.
She converted to Islam before getting together with Bayda but, she said, she stopped practising in September during their trial after she “got put off” when seeing extremist propaganda material again.
“I don’t practice anything at the moment,” Namoa told the court.
She kept wearing the hijab because if other Muslim women inmates knew she was no longer practising they may have tried to attack her or yell out at her.
Before her arrest, police had found a sheathed hunting knife and black Shahada flag in her handbag, items which the prosecution said were part of their plot.
But Namoa said Bayda gave her the knife for protection after a man had tried to hug her and pull her tights down in a park. She said she managed to escape.
Bayda also gave her the flag because “I just wanted to have it in my room”.
She agreed she had decided to abandon Islam because her husband had, but said she would not go back to it if he changed his mind.
Justice Des Fagan will sentence them on January 31.