Fighting with Islamic State has become the new way to rebel, according to the federal minister who has been talking to Muslim groups about ways to prevent youth radicalisation.
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells says young people go off the rails for various reasons, whether because of issues at home, bullying or other factors.
The assistant minister for multicultural affairs believes disengaged young people are being preyed upon just like paedophiles prey on young people, echoing Labor leader Bill Shorten’s views.
If the first person who befriends them is a drug dealer, they will turn to drugs.
“What is very clear is that involvement, radical involvement, involvement with Daesh is now what has been termed to me a new way to rebel,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
However, it was clear others had criminal intent in wanting to become foreign fighters and rape, plunder and pillage.
“They are being induced with promises of AK-47s, drugs and women – I have heard that from people who have had dialogue with the young people.”
Senator Fierravanti-Wells believes the solution lies in working with communities and developing programs focused on tackling social issues.
She’s particularly keen on peer-to-peer work where young people receive advice from those their own age – especially from those who’ve been exposed to Islamic State and realised their error.
It comes amid concerns about youth radicalisation with the arrest of a Sydney teen from the same western Sydney school as a 15-year-old who shot and killed a NSW police worker.
The student was arrested for threatening police after posting his support for the brutal murder on social media.
NSW deputy Police commissioner Nick Kaldas has backed Senator Fierravanti-Wells, saying there was evidence to suggest that children were doing this simply as a way to rebel.
“In a sense, they’re not really religiously driven,” he told ABC television.
Mr Kaldas said many other western nations were also seeking to deal with this and no one had any ready-made answers.
“Relentless engagement is one thing. People need to be in touch with kids who are suspected of heading down this road and probably one of the most crucial things in the equation is their home life,” he said.
Mr Kaldas said this could be solved in many ways in the lounge room of the family home.
“We certainly encourage parents to sit and talk to their kids frankly and honestly about issues, to talk about values, to talk about what’s right and wrong and to try and guide them in that direction,” he said.