There are fears of violence against Sydney’s Shia Muslim community by Islamic State supporters after a man was shot in the early hours of this morning in southwest Sydney.
Jamal Daoud, a prominent Shia community member, said there was a great deal of fear following this morning’s shooting outside a suburban Islamic prayer centre in an industrial area of Greenacre.
“This is a warning, a strong warning,” Mr Daoud said.
“Something bigger could happen. I hear a lot of people in the community warning that something like beheading people could happen here.
“There is a lot of talk in the community that they need more action from the authorities to prevent this.”
The 47-year-old man was shot as he left the prayer centre around 1:15 am this morning. There had been at least 200 people inside.
It’s reported Shia worshippers inside the hall heard the shots and then dragged the man inside the building before paramedics arrived at the industrial area.
The man suffered pellet wounds to his face and shoulder, but they were not considered life-threatening.
The shooting occurred just hours after people drove past the centre, shouting in Arabic “ISIS is coming” and “ISIS will stay”.
Mr Daoud said Shia Muslims were at greater risk than other people because Shias were despised by the Sunni-backed IS.
Police are seeking public information on the shooting.
A friend of the victim said threats by alleged Islamic State supporters had been made during the evening, before the shooting.
“They drive past, they stop here, they make threats `Isis lives forever’ this and that,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.
The victim, who was shot in front of his family, received pellet wounds to his face and shoulder, and is expected to undergo surgery.
Local employees were shocked when they arrived at work on Monday to find Rosedale Ave a crime scene and cordoned off.
They said the prayer hall was usually a very quiet place.
“That place has been open since 2004. It’s the first time we’ve ever come across something like that,” an employee from a nearby car business told AAP.
“Usually it’s pretty quiet during the week. Maybe it gets a bit busy on Friday if they have something special.”
It’s believed the worshippers were gathered to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Mohammed, and one of the most revered figures of Shia Islam.
The employee said police had taken the CCTV footage from his workplace.
Police are unsure what led to the attack.
“At this point in time it does not appear that there is any type of motivation for the shooting,” Inspector Dave Firth said.
It remains unclear if the shots were fired from a passing vehicle.