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Aussies Denied Passports over Jihad ‘Fears’
Twenty Australian Muslim men have been denied their right to travel abroad after their country’s intelligence services canceled their passports over “fears” of having jihadi mentality.
"It is a 10-page letter saying I had a jihadi mentality ... I have never been approached by Australian Security Intelligence Organization (Asio) to talk about this," 19-year-old Abu Bakr, told Fairfax on Monday, December 9.
"We have been treated unjustly. My record is clean, shiny gold. I am not a criminal," he added, asserting that he was targeted merely for speaking out about violence against Muslims.
Abu Bakr, a Bankstown laborer, is among 20 Sydney men whose passports were cancelled by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (Asio).
The spy agency accuses them of preparing to engage in politically motivated violence overseas.
The Muslim men were also said to be a threat to national security because of a "jihadi mentality".
Abu-Bakr said his faith did not permit killing innocent people.
"I did not have any intention to fight in Syria," he told ABC radio on Monday.
He added that he and other Muslims had been in Asio's sights since the Syria conflict began.
The Muslim men confirmed that they were intended to join a ‘fight’ against the cancellation of their passports.
"Basically they're suspected of being terrorists or wanting to go to overseas and participate in jihad war, or whatever other reasons," lawyer Zali Burrows, who was approached by 15 of the men whose passports have been cancelled, told ABC news.
Burrows added that the men have received letters requiring them to surrender their passports and they have been told they are an adverse security risk.
Accordingly, the men, who had no intention to join the fighting in Syria, were worried about the measures, she added.
"Some of these guys were just young guys wanting to go on holiday to Bali, they even packed their board shorts. Others wanted to go and visit a sick relative."
The move to cancel passports followed the charging of two men last week over allegedly supporting Australians fighting in Syria's civil war.
The Australian federal police said they believed about 100 Australians were suspected of being involved in the Syrian conflict.
Asio said the agency could request passport cancellations on security grounds.
According to the latest UN statement, more than 125,835 people have been killed in two years of fighting between Assad’s regime and opposition fighters in Syria.
The fighting has forced more than one million Syrians to flee their home to neighboring countries in addition to the displacement of two millions others inside the country.
Thousands of foreign fighters are believed to have joined the war against Assad’s regime in Syria.
Source: On Islam