Like many, in the “me too” movement, I agree with Dr Mitchell Belfer’s remarks at a conference on terrorism.
It is something I have written of previously, about the wishes of ISIS fugitives, returning to their “home countries” now discovering it wasn’t all “That they were led to believe,” after willingly deserting their own country.
Now they want to return to Australia, like one, Neal Prakash, or the daughters and son of Khaled Sharrouf, infamous for having his son hold up a severed head, which went around the world.
Sharrouf is understood to have been killed in an airstrike on Raqqa in 2014.
Prime Minister Morrison said any returning Australian former ISIS fighter will be prosecuted “under the full force of Australian law.”
Last week the Four Corners investigative programme followed a grandmother travelling to Syria on numerous occasions, trying to find the Sharrouf orphans, and subsequently finding two Sherrouf women and son in a squalid refugee camp.
They begged to come home.
Prime Minister Morrison said that he would not be sending any diplomat in to look for, or assist anyone in Syria.
Australia has no representation with the Assad regime.
Later, Morrison said the government was “open to helping the children if stranded, if they got to an Embassy”, presumably with the election in mind, and a certain public “kick back” following the Four Corners presentation.
The desire, “want to come home”, poses an acute dilemma for governments.
In many cases citizenship was withdrawn.
Some travelled with their families, but in the Australian case children were also born within the so-called “caliphate.”
There is now also prolonged debate about the Sharrouf orphans, following the Four Corners investigation; two teenagers and a young son, born and raised in the caliphate, by his Australian father, who’s now dead.
Any surviving adult returnees, after due legal process, will probably finish up in a maximum security prison for a number of years.
It is believed that of the people who joined ISIS, up to 70 children/youths may now want to live in Australia.
A leading Australian psychologist, Madeline Nyst, an expert in countering violent extremism at the Centre for Study of Radicalisation, argues that unless a mechanism is in place for bringing people back to Australia, those exposed to unthinkable violence could pose a security risk in the future.
Such people bring back past psychological problems, and simply can’t be immersed in education systems, along with other students.
Governments will need to plan and provide resources for psychological recovery and integration into society.
ISIS “education” was all about warfare, violence and religion; many young people watched numerous beheadings.
There needs to be cautious specialist education, social work programmes and communities need to lead the intervention, embracing returnees!
Lengthy exposure to ISIS indoctrination will afterwards lead to nervousness, withdrawal, aggression and possible nightmares.
Mental health care is needed for post traumatic stress disorders.
Not an easy road!