Australia authorities are worried about a new international Islamic extremist preacher who is radicalising young people in Sydney and Melbourne via videos on YouTube.
British national Abu Haleema has been posting “rap-like” videos online, spreading extremist propaganda and attacking respected Sydney Sheikhs for their cooperative relationship with Australian police.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, some of Haleema’s followers include the group charged over the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng last year.
Haleema has been shunned from mosques for preaching his radical views, and last year had his passport cancelled and was arrested on terrorism offences.
His videos are of a particular concern as local authorities have no power to remove or block the videos from being posted.
It’s not known why Haleema has recently turned his focus to Australia, however he is known to have links to Australian terrorist recruiter Neil Prakash.
Known for his social media propaganda, Prakash recently disabled his Twitter feed and went into hiding for fear he was being tracked by counter-terrorism authorities, reports The Herald Sun.
Videos posted on Haleema’s YouTube channel, Abu Haleema Media, have attract thousands of views, and his new Twitter account, was only created seven hours ago, already has hundreds of followers.
The rise in Muslims becoming radicalised and joining ISIS is a growing crisis in the West. Some call this the “network effect”, where these recruits convince family members and friends to come with them to live in what ISIS markets as an “Islamic utopia”.
They are even creating LinkedIn profiles, where they list their everyday job with the caliphate and discuss the joys of “living in the heart of the Islamic State”.
The Australian government’s weak communications strategy against extremists was revealed in a report, titled Review of Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Machinery. Released last year, it basically said ISIS is winning over young Muslims because they know everyone loves pancakes.
It showed why groups like ISIS are able to connect with disaffected young Muslims, and how government messaging is ineffectual by comparison.
The government has invested $21.7 million to challenge terrorist propaganda, such as that being spread by Haleema, and has partnered with social media companies to remove extremist material online, while police continue to routinely monitor the internet for online hate preachers.
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