A Melbourne father convicted of a plot to set off bombs and behead people in a Christmas Day terror attack says he only supported Islamic State so he could be the "cool guy" among his friends.
Ahmed Mohamed says he now realises the terror groups beliefs are "bulls***", their methods are "rubbish" and feels abandoned after they failed to make a supportive statement about his 2016 arrest.
Mohamed on Tuesday confessed to doing acts in preparation for the December 2016 terror attack, despite pleading not guilty at trial last year alongside his friends Hamza Abbas and Abdullah Chaarani.
All three were convicted. Hamza's older brother Ibrahim Abbas was sentenced to up to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty.
In a pre-sentence hearing, Mohamed said he began watching IS videos so he could fit in with a new group of Muslim friends in Melbourne.
He had blond hair, an earring, did things Muslim's weren't supposed to do and was embarrassed he didn't know how to pray.
"I felt left out," he said from the witness box.
He researched Islam and came across IS propaganda showing the terror group "doing lots of good" - handing out ice cream and giving to charity.
He said it was Ibrahim Abbas who suggested an attack and was pushy and nagged the others to come on board.
"I felt like a chicken to say 'no I don't want to do this'," Mohamed said.
"I wanted to be the hero of the group ... I wanted to be the cool guy of the group."
He said he now hated Islamic State and hoped to study a Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies so he could learn properly about Islam.
"I thought if this was right ... I would not be in jail," he said.
"I felt they turned their back on me. I thought they would say a statement."
The plot involved beheading people and setting off deadly bombs.
But Mohamed said he realised since going to prison, mixing with non-Muslims and being treated well despite being charged with a terror offence that "all this is bulls***".
"It made me realise I have a family, I don't need to fit in with other groups. I hate them," he said.
Mohamed and Chaarani are already serving up to 22 years in prison after being convicted of a separate terror attack, firebombing a mosque in Melbourne's north in the weeks before the planned Christmas Day attack.
Chaarani's lawyer Patrick Tehan QC earlier on Tuesday called on Justice Christopher Beale not to impose a "crushing sentence" on the trio.
They would spend the "best years of their lives in custody", he said.
All three are aged in their 20s, were clearly radicalised and would spend a significant period behind bars, but the judge should "really look at what is not going to be crushing to these young men", he said.
Chaarani has also renounced Islamic State through Mr Tehan, while Hamza Abbas' lawyer Felicity Gerry QC said he was no longer radicalised.
The pre-sentence hearing is set to continue on Wednesday.
Australian Associated Press