Julie Bishop: We're Reaching Out To Muslim Communities

04/10/2015 2:48 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:50 PM AEST
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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks in Sydney, Monday, April 27, 2015, about the impending execution of two Australians on death row in Indonesia. Australian leaders continued to lobby Indonesia to spare the lives of drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, facing execution by an Indonesian firing squad. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

The Government is reaching out to Muslim communities and families in the wake of the shooting of a police employee by a 15 year-old Muslim teen on Friday night.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC's Insiders program today that Muslim families were the "front line of defence" against the radicalisation of Muslim youths.

The Prime Minister Mr Turnbull had phoned leaders of the community yesterday and had vowed to take a "holistic approach" to combating extremism. The discussions involved New South Wales Premier Mike Baird, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, and leaders of the Muslim community.

Ms Bishop said it was time for the whole nation to take stock after the tragic shooting of 58 year-old Police IT worker Curtis Cheng.

Farhad Jabar Khali Mohammad, 15, shot and killed the 17-year police force veteran at close range outside the Parramatta police headquarters as he was leaving for home at 4.30pm.

“When a 15-year-old boy can be so radicalised that he can carry out a politically motivated killing or an act of terrorism, then it’s a time for the whole nation to take stock," Ms Bishop said.

“I can’t go into the details. There is an ongoing investigation but it really does highlight the challenge that we have before us.”

Mr Turnbull's response yesterday struck an inclusive note: "The Australian Muslim community will be especially appalled and shocked by this. We must not vilify or blame the entire Muslim community with the actions of what is, in truth, a very, very small percentage of violent extremist individuals," he said.

One of the Muslim community leader involved in the talks, Dr Jamal Rifi, told The Sydney Morning Herald that a major focus of the discussion was the role parents could play.

"We felt that mums and dads are well-positioned to pick up every sign," Dr Rifi said. "But we need to empower them. There is a lot of expertise within the community themselves."

Farhad Jabar Khali Mohammad, who reportedly yelled religious slogans before he shot Mr Cheng, was killed by police in a shootout at the scene.

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