Over the past week we have been reminded that, despite the tyranny of distance, NSW is not immune to global racial and territorial conflicts.
In Sydney a Ukrainian Catholic Church was desecrated with racist vandalism in a cowardly attack. This was clearly designed to intimidate members of the Ukrainian-Australian community by drawing them into an international territorial dispute.
We also saw the revelation that Australian citizens assisting militant groups in Syria have been involved in brutal incursions into Iraq. Reports suggest that between 100 and 200 Australians are currently involved in jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Many of the young Australians drawn into this conflict were born and raised in Sydney. This is not simply a case of a few impressionable souls being led astray. We are witnessing international terrorist groups actively recruiting in our backyard.
It is also disturbing to read reports in the Daily Telegraph about the sale of clothing emblazoned with jihadi messages and calls-to-arms on the streets of Sydney.
Those who abandon Australia to fight for jihadist causes abroad should, wherever possible, be met with a point of no return. Equally people who aid terrorist groups from within Australia should face the full force of the law.
Our first loyalty should always be to our shared Australian identity. That is why we must continue to shine a light into dark corners of our society where racial hatreds and prejudices exist.
Significant work is going on behind the scenes to stop young Australian men and women being indoctrinated and led down this dangerous path.
Muslim leaders have been working closely with the NSW Police and the NSW Community Relations Commission to share information and ensure strong messages are conveyed to the grassroots about the dangerous consequences of travelling to Syria.
I recently attended a meeting with NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, CRC Chair Vic Alhadeff and several Muslim leaders, where this issue was discussed at length.
At this meeting the work of the Australian National Imams Council and the National Imams Consultative Forum in deterring Australians from travelling to Syria and getting involved in groups like ISIS and ISIL was acknowledged.
All parties also recognised the need to do more to ensure that we continue to live in one of the most culturally diverse and harmonious societies in the world.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
24 posts so far.