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Violent extremism continues to flourish, warns Australia’s counter-terrorism expert

Violent extremism has not just survived, but is more widespread and potent, Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism has warned.

Despite the unprecedented global response to terrorism, Bill Fisher said that terrorists and terrorist groups have been able to recruit new members.

Mr Fisher, who was speaking last week at two-day conference on countering violent extremism in Perth, said that most of the recruitment involves some form of personal contact and linked local grievances with international ones.

He explained that the focus of Australia’s efforts have been on South-East Asia as it was where the vast majority of Australian victims of terrorist activity have been killed.

Since 'September 11', 112 Australians have been killed in terrorist attacks, including 88 in the first Bali bombings.

Mr Fisher noted that 80 per cent of violent extremists first become involved between the ages of 10 and 25, and it was important for Australia to focus efforts on this age group, including promoting a sense of participation and belonging.

He said that “community involvement and cooperation is especially important in building counter narratives and resilience”.

The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Symposium held in Perth brought together researchers, government officials and international guests, and included the official launch of People Against Violent Extremism - or PaVE – a new non-government, non-sectarian and non-political group.

The brainchild of Curtin University’s Dr Anne Aly, PaVE will promote a strong “counter narrative” to the one used by “violent extremists of all persuasions”. This includes white supremacists.

PaVE will soon launch an online social marketing campaign that will have a strong visual focus, including videos. The campaign will feature alternative narratives to violent extremism and how to disengage from it, including one that will call on viewers to consider the idea that violent extremism has many faces - and how not to make their faces one of them.

Contributor: Widyan Al Ubudy

The Point

Violent extremism has not just survived, but is more widespread and potent, warns Australia’s Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism

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