What happened to the days when the local constabulary would have a chat with Mum and Dad about allegedly wayward offspring? Welcome to The Police State folks: Where innocent kids are transformed into embittered adults (and therefore potential terrorism candidates). So much for all the universal love and inclusivity! Martin Harris
Henrietta Cook Brisbane Times
© Supplied Teens are being wrongly identified as radicalised, experts warn. A week before Year 12 exams, Abshir heard an unexpected knock on his front door.
The Canberra student’s family say he was confronted by two Australian Federal Police officers who were responding to a tip-off from his teacher.
The teacher was concerned the young Muslim man was at risk of radicalisation.
The warning signs?
The teenager wrote an essay about Muslim terrorists and western intervention.
He also travelled to the Horn of Africa to donate sporting equipment to needy children as part of a compulsory volunteering subject.
While the investigation was eventually dropped and the student was never charged, the experience left him shaken and affected his grades.
© AAP The AFP interviewed the teen about his essay on foreign fighters but did not pursue the investigation. Federal and state governments have identified schools as a key battleground in the fight against radicalisation, with teachers being trained to spot potential extremists.
But there are growing concerns about the effectiveness of many of these school-based initiatives for countering violent extremism – known in the handbook jargon as CVE.
Dr Clarke Jones, a criminologist from the Australian National University who is familiar with Abshir’s case, said teachers lack the expertise to identify students at risk of radicalisation.
He said these initiatives often target Muslim students who have done nothing wrong and can sever important connections between children and schools.
“The parents are not consulted, the kids are automatically referred through the school to police,” he said.
“When a person is confronted by police it automatically creates this thinking: ‘What have I done wrong?
This is embarrassing, who has seen the police come to the door? Am I in trouble? Will I go to jail?’.”
The academic has read Abshir’s essay and said he didn’t find anything unusual or concerning about it.
“I write material that is far more critical of overseas operations,” he said.
“There was nothing in the essay that would stand out to me as any indication that this young man was radicalised.”
The AFP and ACT Education Directorate would not comment on the case…