USQ expert says fear of ISIS has alarmed Toowoomba

AUSTRALIANS joining unsanctioned foreign conflicts are not new in the country's history.

But University of Southern Queensland social sciences senior lecturer Dr Malcolm Brown believes it is the fear the ISIS conflict is not contained nor limited to one region or political ideology that has alarmed the community.

"It's not new (that) people are leaving Australia to fight in something Australia has nothing to do with," Dr Brown said.

"It's actually hard to think of a time when that hasn't happened.

"But I suppose beforehand there was a notion that these things could be contained."

Dr Brown said another aspect of the fear from communities was the anti-western rhetoric spread by the terrorist group.

"There's certainly the anti-western rhetoric from groups like ISIS and we're part of the west so it does seem to be criticising quite strongly our society and the kind of values that are quite common in our society," he said.

"The fear now is sort of a type of domino effect of it leaking out.

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"You try to contain it and stop it leaking out, but there is at least the chance of it leaking out."

Dr Brown believed people could be de-radicalised and could become a common occurrence, especially in light of reports people who had travelled to Syria to fight in the group now wanted to return to Australia.

He said by working with people who returned to Australia, the government and security agencies could begin to understand more thoroughly how people originally became radicalised.

"Just recently there has been the case of a few people who do want to come home," Dr Brown said. "They have found it is not really what they expected. Presumably that when they went there, they weren't put off by what they were told before they left."

He referred to the Federal Government's hardline approach of jail terms or being stripped of their Australian citizenship.

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