Muslim terrorism suspects just 'teens being teens,' conference told

From the Daily Telegraph

By Andrew Carswell

Muslim youth who have been charged with terrorism offenses or targeted in recent counter-terrorism raids are merely teenagers being teenagers, a university lecturer has told an Islam conference in Australia.

Psychcentral NSW’s Hanan Dover said the young men, arrested in the counter-terrorism raids following the shooting death of NSW Police employee Curtis Cheng and previous raids across Sydney and Melbourne, were targeted because of their natural teenage way of “acting out” and that their normal “teenage speak” was being criminalized.

Hanan Dover addresses the conference.

Hanan Dover addresses the conference.

Ms Dover, who is an adjunct lecturer of religion at Western Sydney University and a community psychologist, yesterday defended the young men charged with terrorism on a discussion panel at the 2nd Australasian Conference on Islam Radicalisation and Islamophobia, claiming they had been treated unfairly.

“I do have a lot of clients who have been charged with terrorism charges and who may have not been charged but were raided by the AFP and arrested,” she said.


“Young teenagers act out, yet their ­acting out has been criminalized. The way they talk ... is being criminalized as opposed to it being teenage speak.

“It is quite unfair, and there is no previous indicators or violence or tendency, yet they are placed in maximum-security prison with other convicted criminals, until the AFP decide they don’t have enough evidence and are released.

“When the Muslim community sees this, they see the double standards, they see the injustice.’’

Griffith University associate professor Mohamad Abdalla preached a similar theme at the conference — that counter-terrorism measures were increasing hostility towards policing and laws.

He claimed there were links between Islamophobia and radicalization, and said it was more imperative for governments to address the root cause of terrorism — namely Western foreign policy.

“Unless we treat the root causes, such as the injustices in the Middle East, the double standards of Western foreign policies, the Palestinian plight, then terrorism and violent extremism will raise its ugly head again, even if groups such as ISIS are destroyed,’’ he said.

He called for a dramatic shift in media and political rhetoric: “Young people tell us ... they are traumatized by media reporting and political statements.’’


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