Terrorist recruiters for Islamic State (IS) have been caught posing as social workers in Australia and using their cover to attempt to convert at-risk youths to the radical Islamist cause.
According to former employee Sarkis Achmar, the men would pose as community workers and visit Sydney’s Bankstown Multicultural Youth Service (BMYS) to befriend and convert youths to the IS cause before facilitating their travel to the Middle East. The so-called Ginger Jihadist, Abdullah Elmir, was one of those who visited the centre. He told a local newspaper about the scam.
“BMYS staff worked tirelessly and managed to guide at least seven young people away from the clutches of his friendship,” Mr Achmar is quoted by the Canterbury Bankstown Express. “I believe we assisted in avoiding at least half a dozen other young people following Abdullah overseas.”
Mr Achmar said the visits began three years ago when Islamic State was better known as a “brotherhood”.
“You saw they had the black and white ISIS flag and writing yet they excused it by saying they were words from the Koran,” he said.
Mr Achmar worked with BMYS for 20 years until 2014 and said Mr Elmir befriended young people in the area. Mr Elmir turned up in a propaganda video for the Islamic State group last October after disappearing from his Bankstown home, saying he was going fishing.
“BMYS staff worked tirelessly and managed to guide at least seven young people away from the clutches of his friendship,” he said. “I believe we assisted in avoiding at least half a dozen other young people following Abdullah overseas.
“His recruiters stopped Abdullah from partaking in BMYS because of our success with the other young people we assisted to leave this group.”
An example of what lies in store for the Australian youths tempted to travel to the Middle East for IS-inspired jihad can be found near the terror group’s adopted capital of Raqqa, Syria.
According to the MailOnline, young boys are made to run, climb and crawl through a treacherous assault course near the terror group’s adopted capital of Raqqa, Syria, while an adult commander supervises them.
Armed with rocket launchers and AK47s, the so-called ‘cubs of the caliphate’ then pose proudly under the notorious black flag used by Islamist groups such as ISIS.
By hijacking their education – and minds – from an early age, ISIS can mould these children into loyal fanatics who are willing to die defending the state, a counter-terrorism expert has told MailOnline.