Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australian Muslims need to take greater responsibility in helping to uncover potential terrorists.
In statements made in the wake of Friday’s terror incident in Melbourne the prime minister said radical Islam posed the biggest threat to Australia in terms of religious extremism.
“Religious extremism takes many forms around the world and no religion is immune from it. That is the lesson of history and, sadly, modern history as well,” he said.
“But here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.”
In interviews with Australian media on Monday, the prime minister urged the Muslim community to be more “proactive” claiming some imams and community leaders will know who is “infiltrating” and radicalising members of their congregations.
He dismissed the idea that the metal health of Friday’s attacker was the root cause of the incident as an “excuse”.
“This bloke, radicalised here in Australia with extreme Islam, took a knife and cut down a fellow Australian in Bourke Street,” Morrison told Network Ten on Monday.
“I am not going to make an excuse for that. Of course issues of mental health and all these other things are important.
“He was a terrorist. He was a radical extremist terrorist who took a knife to another Australian because he had been radicalised in this country.”
On Friday evening on Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD, 30 year old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali crashed a car loaded with gas bottles before stabbing three people. He was shot by police and later died in hospital. One of the victims, well known Melbourne restaurateur Sisto Malspina, died from his wounds.
In a letter given to 9News, the family of Shire Ali say he was mentally ill and was in need of help but refused it.
“Hasan suffered from mental illness for years and refused help,” the letter reads.
“He’s been deteriorating these past few months.
“He has seen a psychologist and psychiatrist, but stopped as his paranoia and hallucinations led him to believe they’re ‘after him’.
“Please stop turning this into a political game.”
Executive director of the Forum on Australia’s Islamic Relations, Kuranda Seyit, while describing Friday’s attack on Bourke Street as “shocking and abhorrent”, feared Muslims were being “dragged into mud once again”.
“This is something that all of us have scratched our heads about dealing with, the federal police, the government and community leaders, it is near impossible to prevent radicalisation,” he said, according to The Guardian.
“However, we must not blame Islam for these radicalised people who take violence on to our streets.”
30-year old Shire Ali was born in Somalia and moved to Australia in the 90s. He was known to ASIO and had his passport cancelled in 2015, it is understood to prevent him travelling to Syria to join Islamic State, but was not being actively monitored.
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