Security agencies will reassess their monitoring efforts amid growing outrage over an Australian doctor joining Islamic State.
Registered Adelaide doctor Tareq Khamleh has appeared in a IS propaganda video calling for Muslim health professionals in the West to join him in the extremist group’s stronghold in Raqqa in Syria.
The 29-year-old flew to Kuala Lumpur on March 10, before appearing on the video on the weekend wearing scrubs and working in a neonatal unit describing his work as “part of my Jihad”.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says Dr Khamleh is the first known Australian medical professional to join the extremist organisation.
It proved IS isn’t just recruiting fighters, and security agencies will be alert to the new threat, he said.
The acting attorney-general and foreign affairs minister said it was disturbing development that a highly-educated person had succumbed to “the death cult’s evil message”.
“For an Australian doctor to go, to sign up with this group of bandits, people who are murdering, raping, killing people in the Middle East, in the name of ISIL is just something that our country can’t tolerate,” he said.
Mr Dutton urged Australians to report family and friends if they had concerns they were considering joining the extremist group.
There is a maximum 25 year jail term for anyone found to be aiding the group.
The Australian Medical Association said Dr Khamleh’s actions “contradict what we stand for”.
“The notion of working for and supporting that regime is, I think, abhorrent to almost every Australian doctor,” AMA Vice President Stephen Parnis told reporters in Melbourne.
Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said it was unacceptable for an Australian to advocate on behalf of a group that kills, rapes and enslaves.
“I’m sure the full force of the law will be used against him,” she said in Sydney.
The Australian Greens want better prevention programs to stop youth radicalisation.
It is not enough for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to call on young people not to join IS, Greens leader Christine Milne said.
“It won’t work – it’s a recipe for complete failure,” Senator Milne said.