Three Sydney mayors meet with Home Secretary Claire O’Neill to express opposition to repatriation of Australian wives and children of Islamist State fighters in southwest Sydney.
Liverpool mayor Ned Munoun says the resettlement of families in western Sydney could again harm recently arrived refugees, including Yazidis and Assyrians who fled ISIS violence from Iraq and Syria. .
“We don’t put the victim of crime next to the perpetrator or be the perpetrator’s sidekick,” Cr Mannoun told AAP.
“If the government has an obligation to bring them to this country, then so be it, but common sense tells us that these people should not live in these areas.
“I’ve consulted members of my community and they say it’s insane.”
Four Australian women who have been in Alroy camp in Syria since the fall of ISIS arrived in Sydney last month with 13 children after a covert operation.
Cr Mannoun, Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone, and Campbelltown Mayor George Greiss will receive a security briefing from Ms O’Neil on Friday.
The meeting took place after the three wrote to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese outlining their concerns.
“We don’t mean to politicize this issue, but it has implications for social cohesion and a beautiful tapestry in western Sydney,” said Cr Mannoun.
Cr Carbone questioned why the family had not returned to Melbourne, saying refugees in his area had lost their homes and churches and had witnessed people being killed.
“It’s like putting Hitler’s wife in a Jewish town. It’s really insensitive and really poor,” he told Sky News on Friday.
“I don’t think the government is contemplating this.”
Commonwealth Labor Minister Jason Clare said the previous coalition government had also repatriated people in similar situations to voters in Australia and Braxland, west of Sydney.
“(Former Home Secretary) Peter Dutton didn’t come to Bankstown. He said nothing to me about it, leaving my community in complete darkness.
Mr Clare said the recently returned women can only be assumed to have abandoned ISIS.
“ISIS was a garbage terrorist organization that wanted to kill innocent people,” he said.
“In Australia, no one has a good word to say about them, and I don’t think either of these people.”
Opposition deputy leader Susan Ray said people in western Sydney have been neglected, but it was good that O’Neill was finally able to meet the leaders of the community.
“Listen to the people of Western Sydney,” she told Nine.
ISIS grew out of the political vacuum left in Iraq and the civil war in Syria, proclaiming a “caliphate” in 2014 and ruling territory between the two countries with an iron fist.
According to the United Nations, ISIS has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including dozens of Australians, to commit atrocities and genocide against Gnostic Yazidis and Christian Assyrians.
Federal Police Commissioner Rhys Kershaw confirmed on Tuesday that police were investigating whether deported Australians violated laws banning travel to certain war zones, including Syria.
He said 17 women and children who had settled in Victoria and New South Wales had cooperated with police.
The government says monitoring and restrictions will help mitigate the potential threat of extremism by returning women and children.