Feb 20, 2017

IslamiCare: New Muslim helpline to combat isolation, radicalisation

Kuranda Seyit speaking at the forum (SBS)
Kuranda Seyit speaking at the forum.
Australia’s first dedicated support helpline and online service aimed at Muslim parents could prove a valuable tool in tackling isolation and radicalisation.

Luke Waters
20 FEB 2017

The issues confronting Australia’s Islamic community are many and varied, and finding effective solutions have been a continual challenge.

Kuranda Seyit from the Forum of Islamic Relations (FAIR) said parents had been neglected for far too long.

It prompted him to create 'IslamiCare' -  a confidential and culturally appropriate telephone helpline and online service.

“This helpline is really a perfect avenue for parents who aren't sure about how to deal with that. They can get the advice and support and possibly early intervention which could avert a catastrophe,” Mr Seyit said.

Several members of Melbourne’s Islamic community gathered for the launch of the online and telephone service.

Among them was Afghan-born student Adnan Ahmadzy, 22, who said he was subjected to hurtful bullying as a child, but was reluctant to tell his parents.

“Because of my name,  people knew I was a Muslim and so they would kind of bully me for that and call me certain names,” he said.

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He now sees parental intervention as being critical in helping troubled youth – as often they’re the first to observe behavioural changes.

It’s a view shared by Mr Seyit who said there were many issues which he hoped would be addressed.

“Issues around identity, fitting in, being accepted - these are real issues that Muslim youth go through,” he said.

Radicalisation remains one of the most significant concerns, and remained a critical issue founders of the service hoped the program would confront and conquer.

Aden Ibrahim from the Somali Australian Council of Victoria said he'd seen too many members of Australia's Somali community fall victim to radicalisation - among them was family friend Sharky Jama who was killed in Syria fighting for IS.

Mr Ibrahim believed that qualified advice and counselling for parents could help to circumvent future radicalisation.

“People being glamourised and people being put into some sort of a contact - if you have a second opinion people being told the reality of this people wouldn't have fallen to this category,” Mr Ibrahim said.

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