"Australia's Attorney-General's Department estimates 150 people from the country to be substantially involved with extremist groups in Syria."
Sydney, June 30 - An Australian Muslim in Syria has denied funding terrorism after his bank accounts were closed, media reported Monday.
Sydney resident Mohamed Zuhbi's bank accounts were closed 10 days ago when he became a vocal supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
He said the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was behind the decision.
The bank initially denied closing the account. Upon investigating further, they discovered it was locked from a higher ranked person and couldn't give me a reason, Zuhbi was quoted as saying.
In reality, it is a very low move as we had never indicated any funds were going toward anything illicit or illegal, he said.
Describing himself as an aid worker who helps orphaned children and widowed mothers, Zuhbi said he had received more than $40,000 in donations, according to ABC.
Funding for jihad comes in amounts of $100,000, $200,000. Even if we were to do something like that, it wouldn't make any difference, he said.
A family that has orphans is much more in need than a jihadi.
His father Baraa Zuhbi confirmed the family had been visited by ASIO agents.
My boys are not fighting and they are not jihadis. Mohamed went there to help refugees and used all of his own money, Baraa Zuhbi said.
Closing the account was a stupid move, he added.
He said both his sons, Mohamed and Hazem, live in Turkey and travel to Syria to provide aid to the needy.
The ASIO is tracking other Sydney men believed to be fighting for rebel groups in Syria and Iraq.
They include Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf, who were recently photographed beside bodies of executed prisoners in Iraq, according to the report.
The latest Australian known to have died in the region is Zakariah Raad, a man from Sydney, who featured in an ISIS recruitment video released two weeks ago.
Zuhbi said he did not not know them personally.
Australia's Attorney-General's Department estimates 150 people from the country to be substantially involved with extremist groups in Syria.
This number includes individuals who have travelled to the region and stayed there, have travelled and since returned to Australia, and others who have actively supported extremist activities in Syria but have remained physically located in Australia, statement said.