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#################### Geoff Seidner
Wednesday, 7 October 2015
5 oct Terror shooting: Families are ‘front line
Terror shooting: Families are ‘front line of defence’
As the Turnbull government seeks to recast relations with the Islamic community, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has declared that Muslim families are the nation’s first line of defence against radicalisation of young people.
Malcolm Turnbull is taking a more co-operative and inclusive approach after warnings from security agencies that relations with the community had sunk to their lowest ebb.
Security specialists and community leaders warned that the blunt and divisive language used by former prime minister Tony Abbott had alienated many in the Islamic community and made it harder to win their trust to help combat radicalisation.
The Australian was told yesterday the new Prime Minister’s comments on the terrorist threat were “more subtle and more in keeping with where the security agencies would like the Prime Minister to come from.”
Ms Bishop said it was time for the country to take stock after the murder of a police employee, Curtis Cheng, by a radicalised teen.
“It’s tragic for the family of the police worker, for the community and for Australia as a whole when a 15-year-old boy can be so radicalised that he can carry out a politically motivated killing or an act of terrorism, then it’s a time for the whole nation to take stock,” Ms Bishop told the ABC’s Insiders program.
“I can’t go into the details of the ongoing investigation but it really does highlight the challenge that we have before us.”
One of Australia’s most respected community leaders, Jamal Rifi, strongly backed Ms Bishop’s view. “The horrible attack in Parramatta is a cold-blooded murder with no justification or excuses,” he said in a statement.
“We need to work collaboratively tackling radicalisation among the youth with federal and state governments as well as federal and state agencies,” he said.
Parents were well positioned to notice the early signs of radicalisation, Dr Rifi said. “As the Australian father of the year, I urge all parents, in particular fathers in the Australian Muslim communities, to initiate a dialogue with their kids, teenage sons and daughters, and to be alert for any changes in their behaviour and to seek help, the earlier the better.”
Seeking help early would prevent their sons and daughters from getting into trouble with the law.
“It is for their own safety and peace of mind. Please talk to your kids, please seek help early — doing so does not mean you are getting them into trouble. It is the opposite.
“It means you are preventing them from getting in trouble and you might be saving their lives and others lives,” Dr Rifi said.
Asked if there’d been a change in the government’s tone in reaching out to the Muslim community, Ms Bishop pointed to the discussion involving Mr Turnbull, NSW Premier Mike Baird, the Australian Federal Police, NSW police and leaders in the Muslim community.
“This kind of issue must be the subject of a holistic approach not only from governments at all levels but also the community,” Ms Bishop said. “We’re certainly reaching out to the leaders of the Muslim community but working with the families at a grassroots local level. It’s the families that will be our frontline of defence against radicalised young people.”