A former Melbourne university student, Suhan Rahman, has reportedly been killed in Syria while fighting for ISIS.
A Twitter post announcing the death included a photo of a body that resembled Mr Rahman, age 23, who went by the name Abu Jihad Al-Australi.
Victoria Police had been investigating Mr Rahman after he commented on social media: “there is no good left in u if none of u do something about he Australian newspaper mocking our prophet peace be upon hum. Don’t be cowards [sic].’’ That post has since been removed.
This is the second reported death of a radicalised young Melbourne Muslim in the past week. ISIS propaganda outlets last week posted images of Melbourne teen Jake Bilardi, claiming he had taken part in a coordinated suicide bomb attack on the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
Leaders of the Australian Shi’ite Muslim community have expressed concern about the susceptibility of Australia’s Muslim youth to ISIS’s online recruiting campaigns.
Sheik Hamid Waqar, who lectures at the Imam Hussein Islamic Centre in Sydney, told The Newsroom said youth could be attracted to ISIS, just as some are drawn to gangs, for the sense of belonging it gave them.
“Education is key to solving this problem,” he said. “The [Australian] Muslim community needs to increase their knowledge of Islam in order to see just how far ISIS have stepped away from Islamic principles.
“The wider community needs to learn more about Islam as well so they can learn that ISIS doesn’t equal Islam; that Islam is a religion that can peacefully coexist in Australia.”
Comparing joining ISIS to joining a gang, he said: ‘’The horrendous nature of these actions are diminished in their eyesight and the same could be said for people joining ISIS , they want a brotherhood and a sense of belonging.’’ – Zena Chamas