Tony Abbott Declares ISIS as World's 'Most Effective Terrorist Movement' Amid Terrorism Fears

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By Reissa Su | August 22, 2014 4:00 PM EST

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation head, David Irvine, have reiterated that terrorism laws were not meant to fight Islam or the whole Muslim community but terrorists.

Reuters
Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L) greets Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in central London August 12, 2014.

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Mr Abbott said the proposed law was not targeting Islam after receiving criticism from Muslims in Australia. In his speech in Adelaide, the prime minister said terrorists have the tendency to "justify themselves" in the name their religion. However, the international Islamic leaders were "categorically affirming" that the killing of innocent people will always be "a crime in the eyes of God."

Mr Abbott assured the Muslim community that the government's concern is to prevent terror acts and not to "single out" a community, reports said. 

In a rare interview with Dr Jamal Rifi on the Voice of Islam, Irvine explained the role of security agencies in Australia. He said he was "utterly outraged" when he saw the headline of the Weekend Australian that read "We will fight Islam 100 years."

 The ASIO head said the headline was wrong and he declared on behalf of the Australian government that Islam is not the enemy but terrorism. He went on to say that the headline does not make sense to him. The thought of Australia claiming to fight Islam was disturbing to Irvine.

In response, Rifi said the Australian government and the Muslim community was "not on the same wavelength." The radio programme host explained to Irvin about the community's anxiety in the wake of the coverage about Australian Muslims fighting alongside ISIS in the Middle East. Reports have surfaced about Australian jihadists Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar.

Irvine also called on more Muslims to join Australia's intelligence organisation. He acknowledged the need for the Abbott government to continue to strengthen its ties with the Muslim community.

Following the news of ISIS beheading U.S. journalist, James Foley, Mr Abbott warned that such brutal acts could happen in Australia as well as other Western countries. He said ISIS may be "the most effective terrorist movement the world has yet seen."

The prime minister acknowledged the possibility of an increased terrorist activity in the country. According to reports, Jemaah Islamiah, the Indonesian group behind the Bali bombings, may be supporting ISIS.

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(Photo: Reuters / Justin Tallis)
Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L) greets Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in central London August 12, 2014.
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