I’VE seen many stories over the past few months about the increasing risk of Muslim extremists in Australia, flying to the Middle East and fighting for the Islamic State.
From what I’ve studied on this topic, there are two basic ways to combat extremism in Australia – a top-down government approach or a community based approach focused on inclusivity.
At Youth Off The Streets, we firmly believe in the community-based approach to combating extremism and this is something that everyone can get behind coming into Social Inclusion Week.
The week runs from November 22 to November 30 and is about including the disadvantaged and marginalised in community events and interactions, providing a sense of belonging to those that don’t feel like they have a home.
We know that disaffected young people who feel they don’t have a place to belong, form sub-groups and are more susceptible to being influenced by radicals who promise them a purposeful life.
Connecting disaffected youth with community leaders and other young people is vital to combating the recruitment of these vulnerable young people.
Many of the young people involved in our programs are Muslims, and as a non-denominational organisation, we believe it is imperative to provide a safe place for all young people.
Youth Off The Streets Outreach program is a good example of the work we do to integrate disaffected youth into the community, not marginalise them further.
During social inclusion week, our Outreach Services will be holding 29 programs and we expect to reach 846 young people – many of these young people will be Muslims in areas like Bankstown, Blacktown and Merrylands.
Combating extremism is a difficult task and it is often tough to identify the most at-risk young people.
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