ECCV urges counter-terrorism summit to focus on whole-of-community approach to radicalisation

The Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) says the two-day Counter Terrorism Summit - being held in Sydney - should consider a multifaceted and whole-of-community approach to the question of terrorism and in particular anti-radicalisation programs.

ECCV Chairperson, Eddie Micallef, said he commended the Federal Government for conducting this important initiative, but warned against having a simplistic and punitive approach to the issues of home-grown terrorism and radicalisation in particular.

“The ECCV completely understands why the summit has brought together ambassadors, foreign ministers and counter-terrorism experts to address these very important issues, and commends the Federal Government for bringing this about,” Mr Micallef said.

“Terrorism, the threat of so-called ‘lone wolf’ terrorism, and the experience we have in parts of Melbourne, in Victoria and throughout Australia, of what experts are saying is radicalisation of increasingly younger people through slick social media campaigns, is something the entire community needs to have high concern about.”

Mr Micallef said, however, the “law and order” approach on its own to countering potential radicalisation of young people, while having apparent populist appeal, had the real potential to be counter-productive, and would not bring about long-term and effective measures.

“If we are to come up with initiatives that are effective and long-lasting we must have a multifaceted approach and whole-of-community ongoing dialogue that includes community leaders, community groups, educators, the police, young people, social workers and other relevant groups and individuals,” Mr Micallef said.

 “I am encouraged to read media reports from the summit which state that the Federal Police are open to the idea of using disillusioned ex-radicals to promote the counter-extremism message. While this approach has been questioned by a number of experts, it shows a potential to for an open-minded approach to ways in which we might address this very serious issue.”

Mr Micallef said the ECCV had already made a number of media statements about how cancelling the citizenship of dual or even sole citizens suspected of terrorist activities or supporting terrorism was highly controversial within the general community and a “blunt and simplistic approach” to a complex issue, which many, including Ministers within the Federal Government, have been reported as being critical of.

“ECCV believes the proposals to revoke citizenship of dual citizenship holders is highly controversial, and the intention to cancel citizenship from sole citizenship holders even more controversial within the general community. It is hoped that the summit addresses this issue in detail and comes up with a better solution to countering terrorism than the cancellation of citizenship.”


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