Sydney mayors say repatriated families of IS fighters ‘have turned their backs’ on Australia
Several mayors have stepped up their fight against relatives of so-called Islamic State (IS) fighters resettled in Sydney, saying the families have “turned their backs” on Australia.
- Mayors say majority of women and children have been resettled in their area
- They say returnees did not speak out against IS actions
- About 40 people are expected to leave Syrian camps for Australia in the coming months
In a letter to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, three south-west Sydney mayors said their communities were not consulted on the decision to relocate the wives and children of IS fighters to their area.
Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun, Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone and Campbelltown Mayor George Greiss have accused the federal government of using Sydney’s southwest as a “garbage dump”.
“Your government has confirmed a repatriation plan for 26 women and 42 children who are the family of Islamic State fighters, with the majority to relocate to Sydney’s South West, without any consultation with South West communities. of Sydney,” the letter read.
“These families have lived alongside ISIS fighters for over 7 years after turning their backs on Australia, and at no time have they spoken out against ISIS’s actions.
“Your government has listened to the opinions of returning families but has ignored [sic] time to consult the communities affected by this decision.
The first group of Australian women and children held in a detention camp in northeast Syria since the fall of IS in 2019 arrived in Sydney on October 29.
The four women and 13 children left the Roj detention camp in Syria and traveled 30 kilometers to the Iraqi border before flying home.
Community leaders have since raised concerns about the potential security risks they pose, especially for refugees who have fled IS brutality.
Independent MP Dai Le said the repatriations were hurtful for Christian refugees in her constituency of Fowler in Sydney’s south-west.
She also said that members of her Assyrian community had been targeted by IS militants.
But Home Secretary Clare O’Neil said the repatriation had been advised by national security advice and there was a greater risk of leaving them in Syria.
“One of the things that hasn’t been properly discussed here is the risk to Australia if we don’t do something,” she told the ABC on Friday.
“The truth is that we have a relatively large group of Australian children who would otherwise grow up in a camp where violent ideology is one of the main focuses and influences on their lives and I don’t think that’s good for the country. .”
Around 40 Australian women and children are expected to be repatriated in the coming months.
The mayors asked Mr. Albanese to consult with them before their arrival.
“Sydney South West Local Government has always worked with all levels of government to ensure the successful resettlement of migrants and refugees,” the letter said.
“It’s time for the government to hear the concerns of the community, and we invite you to have a conversation.”