28 December 2015
A surprising number of Australians have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with Islamic State and other extremist groups. Proportionate to the population, Australian foreign fighter departures equal that of France and amount to one more per thousand citizens than the United Kingdom. Over 120 individuals are thought to have made the trip, 340 have been stopped at airports and 116 passports have been cancelled. Three “lone wolf” terrorist attacks have shocked the nation in the past 15 months, and the national intelligence agency is investigating at least 400 suspected extremists.
The Australian federal government has responded resolutely with new legislation expanding the powers of security services, while “softer” initiatives aimed at countering violent extremism (CVE) have also been attempted.
How has the government’s CVE project fared and what challenges does it face?
The prevention of violent extremism in Australia falls under the auspices of the Attorney-General’s Department, which established a CVE unit in 2010 to identify and divert at-risk individuals, challenge ideologies and strengthen community cohesion.
The unit introduced a Building Community Resilience Grants Programme in 2011 to fund grassroots projects that support vulnerable youth and build capacity within communities to discourage extremism.
… Cameron Sumpter is a senior analyst at the Centre of Excellence for National Security, a unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
CENS / Online
Last updated on 29/12/2015