Returning Australian jihadis cause for concern: George Brandis

Posted Jan 12, 2015 by Richard van der Draay
Australian counter terrorism authorities believe some jihadis known to have travelled to fight in Syria have been actively recruiting new fighters or raising funds for Islamic terrorist groups since returning to Australia.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott (C)  foreign minister Julie Bishop and Attorney General George Brandis (R...
Prime Minister Tony Abbott (C), foreign minister Julie Bishop and Attorney General George Brandis (R) announcing tougher terror laws, August 5, 2014
With the massacre in Paris flagging the dangers posed by returning Muslim fighters, The Australian understands security concerns remain around the group of Australians known to have made the journey to Syria.
Some 20 to 30 Australian citizens are thought to have returned following a stint on the front lines in Syria. The number is in addition to the 70 that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation believes are currently in Iraq or Syria and the 20 believed to have died in the fighting. Pressing concerns were raised in relation to a small number involved with recruiting new terrorist fighters or in fundraising for the death cult.
Attorney-general George Brandis warned that the attacks in Paris indicated that the West was in for a long war against Islamist extremism. “Surely, there can now be no rational person who still disputes that the world, and the free and democratic nations of the West in particular, [face] a profound threat… likely to be with us for a long time,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, South Australian Liberal Party senator Cory Bernardi renewed calls for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act to allow unbridled debate of terrorism and associated issues, following the Paris terrorist bloodbath and the recent Martin Place siege in Sydney.
While Labor Opposition leader railed in apparent disgust against any such debate in the aftermath of the Islamic attacks on the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo publication, even the left-leaning The Age newspaper seemed to suggest the legislation that prohibits causing offence might need to be reviewed after all.