Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott sought support from Muslim leaders Monday for plans to overhaul terrorism laws, with a view to curbing so-called home-grown Islamist extremism.


Muslims have expressed fears they will be unfairly targeted by the new measures, which will make it easier for authorities to track and prosecute Australian citizens who engage in or support terrorist activities abroad.

Abbott said that when it came to fighting terrorism everyone in the country had to be on “Team Australia.”

“Everyone has got to put this country, its interests, its values and its people first,” he said on Macquarie Radio.

“You don’t migrate to this country unless you want to join our team, and that’s the point I will be stressing.”

The government estimates that around 150 Australians are fighting on the side of Islamist groups, mostly in Syria and Iraq.

Abbott told reporters it was important to encourage the Muslim moderate mainstream to speak out.

He said the overwhelming majority of all people in Australia were decent and “individual communities can’t be caricatured on the basis of a militant few.”

Abbott is due to meet Muslim community members in Melbourne later this week.

The government plans to present the new laws to parliament later this year, which would allow it to suspend or cancel passports and track citizens who travel to conflict zones.



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