Oct 12, 2015

Former teen neo-Nazi says ISIS is using the same methods to lure disgruntled teenagers toward terrorism as fascist groups used to groom him years ago

October 12, 2015

former neo-Nazi
Former neo-Nazi
A former neo-Nazi has compared his experiences as a marginalised teenager to the threat 'Islamic fundamentalist' recruiters pose to young Australians today.

James Fry - who has also wrote a book about his past - made the comparison during ABC's Q&A program on Monday 
'Young, confused and alienated from mainstream society, I was looking to make sense of what I found to be an incredibly confusing world,' Mr Fry said.

'I thought I found the answers I was looking for, as a young teen I joined a violent neo-Nazi group - had it been today, I'm sure I just as easily could have been persuaded by Islamic fundamentalist.'
Mr Fry also questioned the government's approach to dealing with extremism, which he said was largely built around fighting foreign wars and needed to be directed more towards providing help and funding for local community groups.
'Why does our government’s so called counter terrorism strategy continue to focus on the failed approach of sending military to fight counterproductive foreign conflicts, when money invested here in our education and mental health services could reduce the available pool of young men susceptible to radicalisation?' 
Immediately after asking his question, social media was flooded with feedback for Mr Fry.

'Who would’ve thought the former neo-Nazi would have the best question of the night,' one viewer tweeted.
'Bravo, James the ex-Nazi … That was gutsy and courageous. All power to you,' Reezy Miller wrote.
'This ex-neo-Nazi on #QandA (who now recognises that neo-Nazis are the same as ISIS) is spot on. Well done James,' another said.

'Fantastic dialogue with an ex-Neo-Nazi giving important insight into how Radicalisation works,' Anniene Stockton tweeted.  
Greens MP Adam Bandt was the first to respond to the question, and addressed the issue of funding after thanking Mr Fry for his 'honesty'.
'Of the money the government announced for counter-terrorism only two per cent of it went towards employment and engagement strategies and the rest went towards policing,' Mr Bandy, the Federal Member for Melbourne said.

'There are people doing the world... on the ground able to say 'that person, I'm a bit worried about them'... but at the moment most are doing it on a volunteer basis.
'The resources they did have before have been stripped - we need to support people on the ground.' 
Liberal MP Ken Wyatt described Mr Bandt's summary of events as 'simplistic' and said the issue is 'much more complex'.
'Australia gives $5.1 million to community organisation to engage with young people so work is done on the ground,' Mr Wyatt said.

'They are embedded within communities where you people come from. We've also got to identify young people, particularly males, who become isolated.'
Mr Wyatt also highlighted 'cultural antagonism' as a major issue in tackling the radicalisation of young people, and said it is something society must 'grapple with'. 
Sheikh Wesam Charkawi, a Sydney school chaplain and youth worker, suggested a new approach is needed to combat the issue.
'In Australia, domestic violence is tackled through mental issues, they promote campaigns that counter the narrative and they have support services - they do that in a way that doesn't demonise all men,' Sheikh Wesam said.
'I think that's how we have to start looking at this issues. We can't just narrow the scope down to one side...at the end of the day, we need a new strategy.' 


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