Extremism conference aims to stop ISIS radicalizing young people online
27 countries involved during two-day meeting in Sydney
Australian Foreign Minister says women can play role in preventing recruitment
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described ISIS as a “death cult” that is targeting individuals and governments globally with a message to “submit or die” in a speech at the start of a regional counter extremism summit in Sydney today.
“This is not terrorism for a local grievance; this is terrorism with global ambitions,” Abbott said. “You can’t negotiate with an entity like this; you can only fight it.”
The two-day summit has brought together ministers, senior officials and observers from 27 countries, along with executives from social media groups including Google, Facebook and Twitter, and will examine ways countries can work regionally to combat extremist terrorism.
Delegates to the conference will look at ways they can prevent the distribution of online propaganda and focus on the use of social media to recruit ISIS followers and radicalize young people.
Australia fights ISIS
Recently Australia has taken measures to combat terrorism, including a controversial move to strip citizenship from known terrorists who are dual Australian nationals. The passports of 115 Australians have been canceled, nine others whose travel plans had been “suspect” have been suspended, and 14 passport applications have been refused.
Abbott said a prime aim of the conference was to stop young people succumbing to the lure of online recruiters.
“Above all, we need idealistic young people to appreciate that joining this death cult is an utterly misguided and wrong-headed way to express their desire to sacrifice,” he said.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said any solution should focus on the important role women can play in combating the “radicalization process.”
Bishop said women now account for one fifth of all foreign fighters joining ISIS.
“Women are fighting, joining their foreign fighter husbands, seeking to find partners or are otherwise providing support for terrorist organizations,” she said.
Bishop said “it defies all comprehension” that women – one of biggest victims of ISIS – continue to support extremist groups.
“It is vital that we remove any romanticism or idealism about the motives of groups like Da’esh (ISIS) – who are not freedom fighters or religious warriors – they are criminal gangs that extort money, murder innocent people and commit crimes such as the rape of women and children.”