Australia To Take Actions Against Religious Preachers Inciting Hatred To Encourage Terrorism

By @snksounak 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

Australian PM Tony Abbott announced his national security statement on Monday. He focused on strengthening immigration laws and amending the Citizenship Act.

Australian nationals who are found to be involved in terrorism are going to have some of the citizenship rights stripped as the Abbott government plans to tighten its grip on national security. It is going to be an unusual step to mark a major expansion of plans which include the suspension of Australian passports for dual citizens.

Abbott indicated that his government will take strong actions against religious preachers who are believed to be fuelling extremists by inciting hatred. Abbott confirmed that the security proposals were among a number of steps the Australian government would take to counter home-grown terrorism.

Abbott’s said at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Canberra that he would create a counter-terrorism coordinator so that security agencies would be able to work together in a more effective way. “We want to bring the same drive, focus and results to our counter-terrorism efforts that's worked so well in Operation Sovereign Borders and Operation Bring Them Home," Abbott said.

Abbott also said that the government would ensure that returning foreign fighters were prosecuted or closely monitored using strengthened control orders. Abbott referred to the national terror threat level which had been raised to high in September. The Australian PM said that there had been 20 arrests as a result of counter-terrorism operations in the country. Abbott justified raising the terror threat level by saying that the number of arrests was one third of all terrorism-related arrests since 2001.

Abbott talked about strengthening Australia's immigration laws. He also mentioned that the Australian Citizenship Act would be amended so that the government would have more power to suspend or revoke Australian passports for those with dual citizenship.

In case of Australian citizens involved in extremism, the government is likely to suspend some of their citizenship rights. Abbott said that the restrictions might include barring them from leaving or entering the country. Some of them may also be barred from accessing to consular services overseas and welfare payments.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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