Passports cancelled in terror fear

Overseas terror groups are a lure for young Muslims.

Three Perth-based jihadi wannabes whose passports have been cancelled to stop them joining Islamic extremists overseas will need constant monitoring to ensure they do not vent their anger at home, counterterrorism experts have warned.

The identities of the three young Muslim men have not been released by Federal authorities who claim privacy laws prevent them from publishing personal details about anyone subject to a passport ban.

But _ The West Australian _understands at least one of the men is a teenager from Perth's eastern suburbs who is also facing criminal charges after he and a second man were caught last month travelling on a flight from Perth to Sydney under false names.

It is believed authorities only became aware of the men's activities after one of their fathers reported them in a desperate bid to keep them at home.

Both men are also believed to be followers of radical hate preacher Junaid Thorne, who last week provoked outrage by suggesting the actions of the Paris gunmen were justified.

Curtin University counterterrorism expert Anne Aly said cancelling passports was a risky strategy, with experience showing those prevented from fighting overseas would seek out other opportunities.

Melbourne teenager Numan Haider, who was shot dead while attempting to kill two police officers last September, had his passport cancelled in the weeks leading up to his death. Haider was also linked to Junaid Thorne, who has more than 3000 followers on Facebook.

"If someone is on a path towards violence and you remove the opportunity from them, they will look for something else and they will find it," Dr Aly said. "We have to give them an alternative or that alternative will be violence in Australia."

WA Police refused to comment on how closely the three Perth men were being monitored, but it is likely ASIO and Federal Police would also be involved in any surveillance operation.

The trio are the first from WA to join the list of about 80 Australians whose passports have been cancelled to stop them joining banned terrorist organisations.

The Islamic Council of WA said it was concerned that it had been kept in the dark about the recent cancellations and was urgently seeking clarification from State and Federal authorities.

"We were not aware of any activities like this happening here in WA at all," ICWA president Rateb Jneid said.

"We are concerned about our youth … and always encourage them to use their energy in positive ways.

"But we need the facts because we do not know what is going on."

Dr Aly said it was important that both the Muslim and wider communities did not shun the men because there was still hope they could be de-radicalised.

"To bring someone back from the brink of radicalisation, they need their family's support and the support networks of their community … otherwise we risk further isolating them," she said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last week defended her Government's passport cancellation program, saying Australia had a responsibility not to export terrorism to the rest of the world.

"Not only are they placing their own lives at risk but they are adding to the suffering and the misery of the people of Iraq and Syria, who are being subjected to the most brutal and inhumane treatment by IS and other terrorist organisations," she said.

On top of passport cancellations, the Government can also subject jihadi wannabes to control orders to restrict their movements or access to the internet. Welfare payments can also be cancelled.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said de-radicalisation programs had also received an extra $13.4 million in funding as part of a recent $630 million boost to national security programs.