Canberra, April 16: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday described the Islamic State (IS) as “just about death”, not religion, after a former model reportedly became the latest Australian to die fighting for the Sunni radical group. Abbott pleaded with Australians not to join the “death cult” in the Middle East, saying those who submitted to the group operating from Syria and Iraq were a danger to all. “My very simple message to anyone considering joining these groups is: don’t,” Xinhua news agency quoted Abbott as saying at a press conference. “They are death cults. They are not about religion they are just about death and it is just as likely to be your death as anyone else’s.
“If you go overseas for this kind of purpose, you are a danger to others, you are a danger to yourself,” he said. “Don’t do it.” Abbott made the comments in the wake of the apparent death of Sharky Jama, a Somali-Australian from Melbourne who last year abandoned a modelling career to join the IS in Syria. Jama’s father received a phone call and text message on Monday night telling him his son has died, the Somali Australian Council of Victoria told the media. Dada Jama told the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) he believed the news when he called his son’s phone and it went straight to voicemail.
The Department of Foreign Affairs could not confirm Jama’s death, saying its capacity to verify anything in the Syrian region was extremely limited. “Due to the extremely dangerous security situation, consular assistance is no longer available within Syria,” a spokesperson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). A member of the Somali community in New South Wales told ABC that two girls from the community were currently missing and were thought to have joined the IS, while another member was confirmed dead. (IANS)