On a news day like today, it's easy to overlook important stories like this one about Muslim extremists in our midst
The Muslim riots last year in Sydney should give some insight into the numbers of people prepared to call for and to commit acts of violence in support of their "religion". It's pretty hard to miss the message in a "Behead all those who insult Islam" sign.
Western Sydney imam Afroz Ali says 100 extremists living in our suburbs
MORE than 100 extremists capable of violent radicalism are entrenched in western Sydney, a Muslim cleric claimed last night.
A western Sydney imam has revealed his losing battle turning young Muslim extremists back from the brink of terrorism.
Exposing the scale of the problem, moderate imam Afroz Ali said he was losing the battle to turn 120 extremists at this Lakemba-based organisation back from the brink.
Imam Afroz left the federal government-backed National Imam's Consultative Forum in April in no doubt how worried Australia should be about the young radicals.
"We have had a program for the last seven years now in which we have had 240 people who were considered to be moving in a direction which may have led them to violent radicalisation - to terrorism," Imam Afroz told the national forum.
"What we have found is, of the 240 people, 120, exactly half of them, are people who have changed their thinking, their mindset. That is something that I don't necessarily share too widely in public, but I am happy to share it here."
His warning to the forum, made up of over 20 imams from every state and territory, was recorded and will be broadcast tonight on Channel 7's Today Tonight.
Imam Afroz, who runs the Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences & Human Development, could not be contacted for comment last night.
But Sydney-based Maajid Nawaz, himself a former radical who spent 13 years inside Hizb ut-Tahrir, the fanatical global Islamist political movement, said it demonstrated the extent of the problem.
He said he did not consider it a success that there were still 120 young radicals potentially headed for terrorism.
"I find it astonishing we've got one centre that has 240 radicals," Mr Mawaz told Today Tonight
"If 120 can become violent in one Islamic centre, that tells me the scale of the problem. It's massive because that's only one centre."
That is on top of the hundreds of followers who follow Hizb ut-Tahrir, Sheik Feiz Mohammed, the Global Islamic Youth Centre at Liverpool and Auburn's Bukhari House Bookshop and prayer hall in western Sydney.