Australia advised to shift focus from de-radicalisation to prevention of terror attacks

By @diplomatist10 on
Terrorist from Australia
IN PHOTO: Robert Cerantonio (R), an Australian national and a Muslim convert, is escorted by police intelligence upon arrival at the domestic airport in Manila July 11, 2014. The Philippines on Friday arrested an Australian national with suspected links to foreign Islamist militants after he urged Philippine Muslims on social media sites to support conflicts in Iraq and Syria, recruiting them to go to the Middle East. The arrest is the first known link between Islamist militants in the southeast Asian nation and foreign jihadists supporting conflicts in the Middle East. Philippine Muslims took part in conflict in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Reuters/Stringer

Australia has been cautioned by an Israel expert that excessive focis on de-radicalisation will be counterproductive as the success rate of deradicalisation programs is mostly abysmal. Professor Boaz Ganor of the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism in Isreal said this in Sydney.

Ganor said, "I don't believe in deradicalisation in general terms because once those people have been radicalised, it is practically impossible to uproot those ideas in their heads. However, I'm a great believer in prevention. A lot can be done in the education and religious systems to prevent those people who might be intrigued." The Israeli expert was speaking at a forum organised by the New South Wales Parliamentary Friends of Israel and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

Adrenaline Rush

Professor Ganor said prevention is the key, for which, it is important to understand how terrorist groups such as Islamic State are recruiting young men and women. He said violent computer games often fuel desire in young people for an 'adrenaline' rush. So, when representatives of ISIS offer the opportunity to do those bizarre things in real life, the adrenaline works, Ganor noted.

Meanwhile, a prominent Australian Muslim leader has derided the deradicalisation program, saying it lacked focus on factors that really drive young people to fight overseas. The government has asessed that nearly 100 Australians are fighting in the Middle East states of Iraq and Syria.

Program in Mess 

In the view of Samier Dandan, president of Australia's Lebanese Muslim Association, the government's 9-month-old program is a "mess.”  He said universally, research has revealed the enormous influence of wider social, economic and political issues on radicalisation. "Yet, the focus of the government's strategy seems to rest heavily on how best it can strip people of their rights in the name of 'security'," he wrote in an opinion piece.

Australia had upped alert as a safeguard against attacks by radicalized Muslims or home-grown militants who might be returning from the Middle East. It has also carried out many raids on suspects in major cities. The PM had warned Australian citizens that they will face at laest 10 years in prison for travelling overseas to proscribed areas. There is also a legislation to strip the citizenship of dual nationals engaging in such militant acts.

Australia has heavy concentration of Muslims in Sydney west. In the 1970s, the area got transformed from a white working-class district to Muslim majority area following a surge in immigration from Lebanon. According to the findings of the 2011 national census, Muslim dominated areas in Sydney west such as Auburn, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Granville are lagging behind the rest of New South Wales on indicators like income and employment.

(For feedback/comments, contact the writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au)

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