Government working toward shutting down IS propaganda tool

THE Australian Government is working to counter the Islamic State tool most likely used to entice a Sydney mother to abandon her children to become a "jihadi bride".

New Counter-terrorism Minister Michael Keenan said he planned to tackle the IS's powerful online propaganda machine and ensure Australians were getting better safety messages online.

During a television interview he said he was shocked by reports the mother left her children aged seven and five to fly to Syria to marry an IS fighter.

Professor Joshua Roose said IS propaganda painted fighters as heroes and declared honour, light and love could only be achieved through fighting.

The Australian Catholic University terrorism expert's research focuses on Muslim men, but he said a huge number of women were travelling to the Middle East to join the IS.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop earlier this year said up to 40 Australian women were known to have supported terrorist activities overseas and in Australia. She said the number continued to increase despite the IS using them as sexual slaves and suicide bombers.

"Many are being radicalised online, seduced by slick exploitation of social media to spread Daesh's depraved narrative," Ms Bishop said.

The United Nations spoke with one woman from the region who escaped the IS after being captured and temporarily married 20 times to fighters.

After each occasion, she was forced to undergo surgery to "repair her virginity".

The UN found IS had "institutionalised sexual violence and the brutalisation of women as a central aspect of their ideology and operations".

Any Australians with dual citizenships who head overseas to fight with terror groups are likely to lose their Australian nationality if Prime Minister Tony Abbott has his way.

He said up to 50 of the Australians known to be fighting had dual citizenship. He also said the legislation the government plans to move on would try to ensure those whose citizenships were revoked would not become stateless.

But he said those Australians allowed to return would, if convicted of terrorist crimes, be jailed.



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