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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