It boggles the mind to think that some men, fortunate enough to have Australian citizenship, left this country to fight for Islamic State in the Middle East.
It’s even more astonishing that these same men — those who survived their interlude as jihadists — could be returned to Australia to potentially walk the streets freely.
That’s the push coming from the United States government, in either case.
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Extremists walk among us
The US government is urging the Coalition to bring Australian foreign fighters back into the country, in order to be rehabilitated, or prosecuted.
According to AAP, there are currently several Australian members of Islamic State in the custody of Kurdish forces, which seek to be resettled — destroying the terrorist group with help from the US military.
However, in response, government frontbencher and former justice minister, Michael Keenan, rejects the suggestion made by Washington.
Keenan said that the Coalition believed it would be ‘very dangerous’ to attempt to repatriate Australian-born Islamic militants.
After all, if it was once their mission and overwhelming desire to destroy Western civilization, why should it be up to taxpayers to facilitate them?
By all means, leave them out in the cold.
Terrorists to be stripped of Australian citizenship
Additionally, Mr Keenan told Sky News on Tuesday that while Australia works closely with the US, being a major security ally, decisions regarding Australia’s security are to be made by the Australian government, alone.
‘And it’s not that straightforward, of course, the idea that you just bring people home and subject them to a criminal trial.
‘It can be very difficult to get evidence from a war zone that you might need to get a successful prosecution, and our judgment is that in most cases, we are best off excluding these people from Australia.’
However, it may appear we are standing at a crossroads.
Bring them back to avoid more conflict, US says
A spokesperson from the Canberra US Embassy has said that sending these fighters back to the countries they hail from is the best possible solution to stop them returning to the battlefield.
The spokesperson told AAP:
‘The US government’s policy is to encourage nations to repatriate and prosecute their citizens and take responsibility for their (foreign fighters) through rehabilitation programs or other measures that sufficiently prevent detainees from re-engaging in terrorism.’
The Morrison government has introduced laws, which allow the power to strip Australians of their citizenship if they hold a second nationality.
Additional legislation blocks Australian foreign fighters from entering the country for up to two years.
‘We believe that community safety here in Australia is best served by making sure they don’t return to our shores,’ Mr Keenan said.
We can’t help but agree. Lay in the bed you’ve made.
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