Australia: Islamist groups ‘target the young and the isolated’

Bankstown Multicultural Youth Service managers Sarkis Achmar and Mary Malak. Source: NewsLocal

Homeless and isolated young Australian men have been targeted by Islamist groups who have persuaded them to adopt Muslim names and wear prayer caps.

It’s contact that can be the first step in the recruitment of foreign fighters for the war in Iraq and Syria, and an example of where the highly complex process of “deradicalising” young men and women can begin at pavement level in Australia’s cities with carefully focused personal attention to vulnerable individuals.

Attorney-General George Brandis will announce today the distribution of grants worth $1.6 million to 34 community groups across the nation that have developed ways to steer those targeted away from violent extremism.

The Bankstown Multicultural Youth Service in southwest Sydney, which will receive a $50,000 grant, has already persuaded young men and women to leave an Islamist orbit that might have taken them to the ­Islamic State terror group’s headquarters in Raqqa, Syria.

The youth group’s tiny team of workers use down-to-earth techniques they’ve developed over 30 years working the streets and parks of Bankstown to seek out and care for young people who have fallen on hard times.

The group’s Get Real project will provide added training in ­deradicalisation techniques to its staff and leaders in other community groups and schools to help them better engage with young people at risk…

Aussie ISIS doctor Tareq Kamleh doesn’t fit that profile in any way.