Somali Australia Council of Victoria gets $50,000 to fight radicalisation and extremism
The Somali Australian Council of Victoria will spent the money on counter-terrorism forums, training and youth leadership programs throughout Victoria and would help prevent and address the causes of radicalisation of vulnerable people.
Families will be taught how to recognise signs of radicalisation and extremism in young and vulnerable people in workshops and forums to be held this year.
The group was one of only 34 across the nation to get a highly sought-after grant from the Federal Government’s $1.6 million pool of money to fight radicalisation.
It comes as the State Government looks to enact new laws to allow police to force would-be jihadis into de-radicalisation programs and ban them from the internet.
Somali Australian Council of Victoria secretary Hussein Haraco said there was concern in the community that young people were being radicalised.
He said racism, unemployment and losing a sense of belonging were some reasons for people to feel isolated and connect with terrorist groups overseas.
“(The workshops will) help families to recognise signs like changes in behaviour, not talking, not laughing, changing friendship groups or talking extreme things,” Dr Haraco said.
Banyule’s Somali community already runs a soccer program to engage youth and make them feel connected, Dr Haraco said.
Banyule Mayor Craig Langdon said the council would provide advice and expertise to support the Somali Australian Council of Victoria in its proposed work.
“(Banyule) Council supports a whole-of-community approach to this issue and the need to continue building strong local partnerships, including with religious leaders, young people and community agencies,” Cr Langdon said.
A spokesman for Attorney-General George Brandis, who refused to be named, said this year’s Living Safe Together grants round was highly competitive with almost 100 applications from a wide range of community groups.
He said the program was one aspect of a $40 million commitment to counter violent extremism.