The Courier-Mail

Kids se­duced by ji­hadis

At-risk stu­dents put in deradicali­sation pro­grams to stop ISIS brain­wash­ing

- DANIEL MEERS

CHIL­DREN are be­ing put into im­me­di­ate deradicali­sation pro­grams be­cause se­cu­rity agen­cies fear they are on the brink of em­brac­ing ji­had in the Mid­dle East.

Up to 10 “school-aged chil­dren” have been put into the crit­i­cal pro­grams as ISIS at­tempts to brain­wash them on so­cial media.

The rev­e­la­tions came a week af­ter it emerged 336 po­ten­tial ter­ror­ists were in­ter­cepted at Aus­tralian in­ter­na­tional air­ports be­fore they could leave the coun­try.

The peo­ple were in­ter­cepted in just 312 days last fi­nan­cial year.

Five men were taken off planes at Syd­ney Air­port on Au­gust 12, which was the big­gest sin­gle in­ter­cep­tion in Aus­tralia.

A fur­ther two men, linked to the group of five, were in­ter­cepted a week later.

The Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice would not con­firm how young the stu­dents put into deradicali­sation pro­grams were but Com­mis­sioner An­drew Colvin said school stu­dents were now a “par­tic­u­lar con­cern”.

“What wor­ries me as a par­ent, but also as a po­lice com­mis­sioner, is chil­dren who are school aged mak­ing de­ci­sions that they are just ill-equipped to make,” Mr Colvin told ABC ra­dio.

“We’ve con­sid­ered 10 school-aged chil­dren at this stage for pro­grams in the com­mu­nity to work with them to say ‘this is not a good choice you’re about to make’ or ‘this is a bad plan you had’ and we will con­tinue to do that.”

Mr Colvin, whose team of of­fi­cers has foiled mul­ti­ple ter­ror­ist plots in the past year, con­ceded it was dif­fi­cult reach­ing stu­dents be­fore the so­phis­ti­cated ISIS pro­pa­ganda team cor­rupted them online.

“We’re very con­cerned about the youth in our com­mu­nity who seem to be par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to these mes­sages that are com­ing out of ISIL (ISIS) and out of the Mid­dle East,” he said.

“It is very dif­fi­cult for law en­force­ment to try to get ahead of that and try and stop the rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion from oc­cur­ring,” Mr Colvin said.

Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott ap­pointed Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Keenan to the crit­i­cal role of Counter Ter­ror­ism Min­is­ter.

The ap­point­ment was a bid to beef up the Gov­ern­ment’s fight against ISIS.

The Ab­bott Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted more than $1 bil­lion to fight­ing ter­ror­ism since it came to power.

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