More than 30 leaders from across the world are in Sydney this week to take part in a summit focusing on how to combat the Islamic State group, the Sunni militant organization that has taken over large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria. The summit also includes representatives from tech giants Facebook, Google and Twitter.
Australia, a key player in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Sunni militant group, also known as ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, spearheaded the formation of the summit to find ways to use social media to track down ISIS foreign fighters and al Qaeda recruits and to combat their propoganda.
Without finding new, innovative ways to combat the Sunni terrorist group, its presence will only continue to grow, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at the opening meeting at the summit.
"We need idealistic young people to appreciate that joining this death cult [ISIS] is an utterly misguided and wrong-headed way to express their desire to sacrifice," said Abbott. "How this is best done is, of course, the work of this conference."
In the year since ISIS rose to power in Iraq and Syria, Australia has tried to crack down on terrorist cells, especially after the hostage crisis in Sydney in December. Man Haron Monis took over the Lindt Chocolate Café in Sydney and forced his hostages to hang a black flag inscribed with the Shahada, the Muslim creed. His actions were described as “ISIS-inspired,” but the man had been known to law enforcement well before the militant group ISIS was thrust onto the global stage.
According to figures from the Australian government, more than 100 Australians have joined ISIS, and at least 30 of them have been killed. The country is trying to crack down on Muslim extremism in the country and to track down recruitment cells.
Australia is planning on introducing laws that would allow dual nationals to have their citizenship stripped if they were suspected of terrorism.
"You can't negotiate with an entity like this, you can only fight it," Abbott said about ISIS, AFP reported. "This is not terrorism for a local grievance, this is terrorism with global ambitions."