CANBERRA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Australian Attorney General George Brandis said on Sunday that maintaining a positive rapport with Muslim communities was one of the most "vital links" that counter-terror organizations have in stopping radical Islamist terrorism.
Speaking to Sky News on Sunday and in the wake of the Barcelona van attack which left at least 14 dead and dozens injured, Brandis declared that Australia's counter-terror organizations maintained strong relationships with Muslim communities around the nation, something he said was crucial in the fight against extremism.
"As I've said in the Senate and as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have said many times, the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim community is one of the vital links we have with gathering intelligence and anticipating unlawful acts by Islamist extremists who might move among those communities," Brandis told Sky News.
He said with the help of Muslim leaders in Australia, intelligence agencies have been able to thwart more than a dozen potential terror attacks.
"If you've got a person who feels marginalized, the worst thing you can do is make them feel even more marginalized," Brandis said on Sunday.
He said since Sept. 2014, there have been five minor terror attacks in Australia. All five have been lone-wolf attacks.
"But we've thwarted 13 attacks. We've been able to do so because of the excellence of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies," Brandis said.