Australian ISIS Members Can Now Lose Citizenship

| by Robert Fowler
An Australian PassportAn Australian Passport

Peter Dutton, Australia's immigration minister, has declared that those who are affiliated with the ISIS can have their Australian citizenship revoked.

The terrorist organization is the first group to be placed on a list of citizenship-disqualifying organizations established by a new Australian law, The Guardian reports.

In December 2015, the Australian government passed amendments that empowered the country’s immigration system to essentially disown those with dual citizenship. Individuals who have sole Australian citizenship are exempt.

Only groups that are internationally recognized as terrorist organizations can be listed.

On May 4, Dutton announced that ISIS would be the first disqualifying group to be placed on the list, explaining that “people who engage in terrorism-related conduct have severed that bond with their community and denied their allegiance to Australia.”

There are an estimated 110 Australians with dual citizenship currently fighting in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has established its so-called caliphate.

The new law can apply to Australians as young as 14. Children of individuals with terrorist associations can also have their citizenship stripped.

The new citizenship law was criticized by constitutional lawyers and human rights groups, who slammed the legislation for being too vague.

Constitutional lawyer George Williams said the law is too broad, warning that it could lead to the booting of dual-citizen Australians who have “nothing to do with terrorism.”

On May 5, Australian Attorney-General George Brandis announced that the most prominent Australian ISIS recruiter, Neil Prakas, had been killed by a U.S. airstrike on Apr. 29 in the battleground city of Mosul, Iraq.

“We should be gladdened by the news because Prakash was the most dangerous Australian we knew of [fighting for ISIS],” Brandis said, according to the NZ Herald.

Prakash was a regular presence in ISIS propaganda, urging Australians sympathetic to the terrorist organization to carry out domestic attacks in their home country. He had been directly linked to several domestic terror attacks.

“He was the principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East ... He was the person of greatest concern to us,” Brandis added.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has warned that Australians who contribute to or fight on ISIS’ behalf will be treated as enemy combatants, CNN reports.

“They will be targeted,” Turnbull said. “They are waging war against Australia and they are enemies of Australia once they choose to wage that war in those theaters.”

Sources: CNN, The Guardian (2), NZ Herald / Photo credit: Diana Parkhouse/Flickr

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