The news that the NSW government has approached schools requiring them to report students who are at risk of being radicalised to the police is indeed retrograde news. This comes only weeks after Numan Haider, a teenager in Melbourne who knew he was under surveillance and was already under a radical influence, reacted in such an extreme manner to the involvement of police that he was shot dead.
Law enforcement is not the first authority to turn to when kids are in trouble. Counsellors, advisors, specialists in the area of concern are the right people to involve and provide intervention - whether it be learning difficulties, antisocial behaviour, involvement with crime and so on.
With so little correct information currently available about Islam to schools, and so much fear of Islam and what it stands for, it is reasonable to consider that the police will be overwhelmed with information. They need to be able to refer the concerns about such young people to specialist services that are capable of dealing with this situation.
The kind of support services that are needed would be Muslim counsellors who recognise the root causes of disaffection, have sufficient scholarship in Islam to be able to refute the radical teachings of groups such as IS and programs to support young people in addressing the deeper issues that may be causing their initial disaffection.
The Muslim community is already under huge pressure - through the media, through the increase in Islamophobia, not to mention a tranche of new anti-terror legislation which apparently caused the family of Abdullah Elmir to call off the rescue of their son before he reached the clutches of IS.
There has never been a time in this country where Muslims have been under such extreme pressure and accountability, even after September 11 with so little support to deal with the emerging crises. And this can only assist to drive young Muslims into the influence of the more radical.