News

Vulnerable teens radicalised in pursuit of status, purpose

Police suspect Toowoomba teenager Oliver Bridgeman is currently in a conflict zone. Photo Contributed
Police suspect Toowoomba teenager Oliver Bridgeman is currently in a conflict zone. Photo Contributed Contributed

GLORY, heroism, brotherhood. Most young men want it and terror group the Islamic State promises it.

However, those impressionable Australian Muslims who fall for the fanaticism and falsehoods find themselves in a war zone where religious violence is the benchmark and hatred of the West is bred.

There is no accurate figure for the number of people the Sunni extremist organisation has massacred as it creates its caliphate, or Muslim state.

Many of the group's victims are minority religious group members and opponents across Syria and Iraq.

The UN estimates at least 220,000 Syrians alone have been killed.

Who?

Australian Catholic University's Dr Joshua Roose said Australia and Belgium had the highest number of people per capita joining overseas terror groups.

Melbourne's Jake Bilardi, dubbed Jihadi Jake, is one example of the digital generation "radicalised" through the IS's social media prowess.

The 18-year-old suicide bomber's parents were separated and his mother had died not long before he joined the group.

Another person drawn to the IS was Khaled Sharrouf, a former drug user and paranoid schizophrenic.

Why?

Dr Roose said there was no "one size fits all" for people drawn to the IS, but there were some similar feelings among those drawn to terror groups.

Chief among those are grief, humiliation and isolation. He said, like Bilardi, many were bullied and wanted to prove themselves.

Bilardi's father also believes his son could have had mental health issues.

Dr Roose said Bilardi proclaimed himself a warrior before he blew himself up, adding it was this "incredibly powerful" language which drew in Muslim men.

Dr Roose said the IS described their dead fighters as brothers, lions and heroes. He also said on average Australian Muslims were more educated, but it did not equate to better jobs and this meant fewer Muslim homeowners.

Dr Roose said home ownership was symbolic of belonging and provided stability.

Solutions

The many inspiring Australian Muslim success stories were not getting enough publicity, Dr Roose said.

He also said the government could not change the perceptions of Muslims. Dr Roose said it was up to the Muslim community to change views.

Griffith University Associate Professor Halim Rane said the Muslim community needed to condemn the IS publicly and have an honest conversation among themselves. He said people needed to understand the IS's plan for a caliphate was not part of the Quran, but an idea of Sunni scholars - something many Muslims did not realise.

Assoc Prof Rane also pushed for all Australians and all Muslims to understand being Western and Muslim was not mutually exclusive.

Topics:  editors picks, isis, islamic state, terrorism




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Firefighters force entry to rescue sleeping woman from fire

FIREFIGHTERS: Firefighter Paul Sanders at the end of th e shift. photo Lea Emery / Fraser Coast Chronicle

Hervey Bay firefighters rescued the woman from the burning building

Fraser Coast secures high tourism exposure at trade show

Fraser Island sunset  - User Contributed

The region’s iconic nature-based attractions were on display

Coast libraries to secure $10k for robotics programs

Maryborough state election candidates at the public forum - Bruce Saunders. Photo by Valerie Horton/Fraser Coast Chronicle

The initiative will expand the reach of coding and robotics programs

Latest deals and offers

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Billy Slater talks Origin Team

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater.

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater talks about this years team and his return to...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked