Counter-terrorism expert urges leniency on home-grown extremists

A counter-terrorism expert is urging the Australian government to rethink travel bans to Middle Eastern war zones, along with laws stripping citizenship from home-grown extremists.
Isaac Kfir, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, is also calling for major changes in dealing with convicted terrorists and would-be jihadis.
Watch the related video above: Police questioning Sydney terror suspects
Dr Kfir argues Australian policymakers must adjust their approach following the collapse of the Islamic State "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.
In a new report released on Wednesday, Kfir suggests politicians have for years been focused on stopping Australians from travelling to the conflict zone.
"The demise of the caliphate and the fact that al-Qaeda no longer uses training camps in the traditional sense mean that many measures, such as the 'declared area offence' adopted to prevent travel, need to be revisited," he said.
"Removing the declared area offence will remove the stigma associated with those areas and permit individuals, independently of the state, to support the rebuilding efforts."

Stripping citizenship

Dr Kfir also questioned the deterrent effect of stripping citizenship from Australians convicted of terror offences, which the Morrison government has long championed.
"There's no evidence that such measures work," he said.
"Not allowing nationals to return to their countries of origin means that violent extremists will travel to weak or fragile countries from which they can, and do, continue to propagate their hate-based ideology.
"By allowing individuals to return, Australia can help in their rehabilitation and encourage their disengagement from violent extremism."

Dozens of convictions

More than 50 Australians have been convicted of terror offences since the 9/11 attacks in the US in 2001.
Dr Kfir argues state authorities should work with convicted terrorists to dissuade others from falling prey to violent extremism.
"We should encourage and support former militants to go to schools and community centres where they can interact with youth about what it was like living under Islamic State rule, what it's like to be in prison, and so on."
He also suggests preventing and countering violent extremism should be seen as a public health issue, as opposed to a security one.

Local programs

He says the federal government should continue to lead in addressing overarching threats, but include the states and territories far more heavily in local programs.
"More effort and resources need to be directed to the local and state levels, specifically to schools and community centres, so that those who have direct links to potential recruits know the signs that someone is becoming attracted to antisocial movements."
Dr Kfir also advocates increasing the "very low" foreign aid budget and working more closely with neighbouring countries on improving their systems of law and order.



Popular posts from this blog

‘The chances of nuclear use are minimal. Both Russia & Ukraine are well aware of results’: DB Venkatesh Varma

Pak off FATF Grey List; ‘Black Spot’ on Fight Against Terror Irks India; J&K Guv Says 'World is Watching'

‘Not Hospital, Al-Shifa is Hamas Hideout & HQ in Gaza’: Israel Releases ‘Terrorists’ Confessions’ | Exclusive