ELEANOR HALL: Muslim community leaders are today expressing shock
and horror at the latest propaganda video from Islamic State
The video features 17-year-old Australian Abdullah Elmir from Sydney directly threatening Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Members of Sydney's Muslim community are appealing for help to stop young men from being radicalised. So is the video an effective recruitment tool and how can Australians counter its impact?
Lindy Kerin has our report.
LINDY KERIN: The latest Islamic State propaganda video has shocked and horrified many.
(Excerpt of IS video)
ABDULLAH ELMIR: To Obama, to Tony Abbott, I say this: these weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting; we will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands.
LINDY KERIN: Muslim community leaders here in Australia have condemned the video and are worried about the future for this young man. Lydia Shelly is a solicitor with the Muslim Legal Network.
LYDIA SHELLEY: As a mother who also happens to be Muslim, I can say that I'm very saddened.
I'm very worried as well about this boy who has made such a silly, silly, absolute foolish decision to go over there.
I'm very saddened and a lot of other mothers in our community share that same view. The fear that's in your heart as a non-Muslim Australian is also in our hearts as well.
We're quite concerned about this, and we also need to look at how we're going to tackle this problem holistically.
At the moment, we've only got legislative approaches as a response on the table, particularly that foreign fighters provision bill, and I note that if that act was empowered now, it wouldn't have stopped this young boy from going over, and that concerns me.
KINDY KERIN: And what about young men? What are they saying in the community about this video?
LYDIA SHELLY: Look, collectively our community again is saddened and quite disappointed in this video. We're quite concerned as well.
So I mean, just generally our community's in a bit of disbelief as well.
He did leave some months ago in June, and we still have unanswered questions as to how he was able to leave the country and why wasn't this kid brought back home?
LINDY KERIN: Lydia Shelly says they're also trying to piece together what led the teenager from Bankstown to join the Islamic State group.
LYDIA SHELLY: We need to understand the issues of radicalisation and exactly what attracts those people, especially young men, to these organisations.
It's quite worrying and we need to find out exactly the root causes of radicalisation. That means that we need a commitment from the whole of Australia, including our government, to actually tackling that issue.
We also need further community engagement programs and we also need a detailed intervention program too, which Australia doesn't have, in terms of bringing back those who are on the cusp of radicalisation, pulling them back from that brink.
LINDY KERIN: And how confident are you that you can reach those people, like you say, those people on the brink of radicalisation?
LYDIA SHELLY: We simply do not have the choice to fail. We must succeed and we must work hand in hand with the broader Australian community as well as the Government in trying to tackle these issues, because we simply can't afford another 17-year-old boy to produce a video, to leave our shores and be in such a horrendous video.
LINDY KERIN: This community worker, who doesn't want to be identified, is familiar with radicalisation in the Muslim community. He has run his own de-radicalisation workshops and says these young people are often motivated by social isolation.
COMMUNITY WORKER: Some of the things that have come up, to be really honest with you, is a deep sense of concern about the injustices that are happening overseas and this need, or a perceived need, to want to do something about it.
And these overseas groups are an avenue to express that need in a very tangible way, albeit obviously wrong.
LINDY KERIN: So what do other young Muslims in Australia make of this latest recruitment video? University student Sayed Rahmatullah Hussainzada is one of dozens taking part in a national multicultural forum in Sydney over the next three days.
He says the video is disturbing, but he says some of the concerns motivating young people are shared more broadly within the community.
SAYED RAHMATULLAH HUSSAINZADA: It's distressing of course. Just as any person from any other faith or religion or nation or denomination, if they did the same thing it would still be distressing as a human being.
LINDY KERIN: What do you think motivates somebody like the 17-year-old in that video?
SAYED RAHMATULLAH HUSSAINZADA: That's a very hard question because motivation for a person to go and obviously say something like that could be different reasons. It's obviously aligned to some sort of religious and political affiliation with some sort of group.
It could also be provocation. I mean, there are several laws and legislative changes that happens in Australia, and people infringing upon a minority's rights and religion - not that I'm justifying anything, but I'm just saying my personal opinion - could provoke people to try and justify their position with a more radicalised stance, and I think that could potentially be one of the reasons, but I'm not an expert in the field so I can't really answer that question.
ELEANOR HALL: That's university student and Muslim Australian Sayed Rahmatullah Hussainzada, speaking to Lindy Kerin.