Islamic radicalism slowly growing in Australia

Islamic radicalism slowly growing in Australia

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The Australian government’s focus on national security and the war on terror to tackle Islamic extremism, rather than social cohesion and inclusion, has helped create an environment for radicalised Muslim youth to emerge in disproportionate numbers, experts say.Authorities in Australia are grappling with a rise in violence perpetrated by teenagers at home as well as battling to halt the flow of those who are attempting to travel to Syria to fight with Islamic extremists.The murder of a police accountant in Sydney on Friday by a boy of Iraqi-Kurdish descent is the latest in a spate of attacks linked to Islamic extremism. Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar, 15, was shot and killed by police at the scene.”We’re punching above our weight,” Greg Barton, Chair in Global Islamic Politics at the Alfred Deakin Institute said of Australia’s Islamic extremist activity.Belying a population of 24 million, with just 2 percent Muslim, and the vast geographical distance between Australia and the Middle East, the disturbing trend of disaffected and violent Muslim teens in a nation known for social stability is perplexing.The government’s emphasis on dealing with national security issues and policing is a critical issue, however, says Anne Aly, associate professor at Curtin University.”A lot of countries look at it more primarily as a social issue, with national security implications and so the primary efforts have been in building community resilience and working with communities, rather than dealing with law enforcement.”Eight years ago, Aly warned authorities that Muslim children as young as six were showing signs of being disaffected and cut off from the broader community.Those Muslim children were growing up in homes and neighbourhoods where the overwhelming narrative was about the war on terror and whose parents felt the weight of community and media pressure, she said.Australia’s political rhetoric and “the most punitive and comprehensive” anti-terror legislation of all Western countries also contributed, Aly added.

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