RISK: Australia wants to strip citizenship from jihadi children of immigrants

Between 100 and 250 Australians have joined Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria

Australia plans to strip citizenship from Australian-born children of immigrants who become Islamic State fighters in its crackdown on homegrown jihadis, says Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

The government wants to change the Citizenship Act to make fighting for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq a reason for losing citizenship, he added. The government also wants to revoke the citizenship of extremists who are Australian-born children of immigrants or an immigrant, forcing them to take up citizenship in the birth country of their parents or parent.

Dual nationals could also lose their Australian citizenship, while Australians without claim to another nationality could not.

Australia can currently only revoke citizenship in cases of fraud in the citizenship application or where an Australian citizen joins the armed forces of another country to fight Australia.

Because the Islamic State movement is not recognized as a state, membership is not a ground for losing Australian citizenship.

“I can hardly walk down the street without people saying: ‘Why do you let these people back into our country? They come back more radicalized,’” Dutton said.

“They are a huge threat to Australian citizens.”

Critics argue that Australia should prosecute and imprison its terrorists rather than shunt them to other countries.

Islamic State militants have had conspicuous success in recruiting in Australia, which has 24 million people. The majority of Australians are Christian; two percent are Muslim.

The London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence estimates that between 100 and 250 Australians have joined Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria. The centre estimates only 100 U.S. fighters have arrived from the U.S., whose population is more than 13 times that of Australia.

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