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Government risks alienating Muslims unless it's more inclusive -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Some Muslim community leaders are warning the Government's hardline approach to terrorism risks alienating a generation of Muslim youth.

A forum in Sydney last night heard that many young Muslims are being left vulnerable to radicalisation.

One prominent Muslim lawyer accused the government of bullying Muslims and driving a wedge between them and the rest of the community. She says the Government needs to reach out and engage Muslims if it's to have any chance of bridging the divide.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Lydia Shelly describes herself as a lawyer and community advocate who also happens to be Muslim. She says Australians who share her faith are feeling increasingly isolated in their own country these days.

LYDIA SHELLY: I think it's an incredibly bewildering experience where you feel like you don't belong and you feel like you are pretty much the other person in the community that nobody wants, that everyone sees as a potential threat, that everyone thinks is hiding in the shadows, lurking there, waiting to join a death cult. We're now being seen as a prism of violence, that's all we're known for now.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Lydia Shelly used a forum in Sydney last night to lash out at the Government and its counter-terrorism policies.

According to Ms Shelly, young Muslim men in particular feel targeted and some of these people are the types who could turn to extremism.

Lydia Shelly says the Government needs to work with the Muslim community if it wants to have any chance of keeping young people from becoming radicalised.

LYDIA SHELLY: At the heart of it there is a total lack of genuine consultation, genuine engagement and genuine dialogue with the people at the grassroots level in the Australian Muslim community who have been trying consistently and over and over again, it's like banging our heads against a brick wall, telling the Australian Government where you're going wrong, why this initiative will not work. And we have been met with nothing other than just sheer deafening silence.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Radicalisation is a growing problem for Australian authorities. The Government has funded programs to stop extremism within the community.

But another prominent speaker at the forum last night also says the Government isn't striking the right note with Muslims.

Maha Abdo heads the Muslim Women's Association.

MAHA ABDO: We've got to make it very clear here: It's not about blaming or naming. This is about having a conversation and a discussion, a healthy discussion about identifying about what the issues are. It's not one issue or the other.

So rather than saying we blame this particular group for radicalisation or this particular group, what we're saying is consult with young people, listen to their concerns and then understand what their issues are and have a real honest conversation with them.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Is the Government getting it wrong with its policy though?

MAHA ABDO: I think at the moment what we're seeing is there's not, you know, there's no proper consultation mechanism, and where the policies or laws are being passed without proper consultation.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Dozens of Australians have also travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight, mostly with Islamic State.

Along with toughening the laws for those who join IS the Government has also stepped up surveillance at airports for people trying to get to Syria.

However, this has made many Muslims feel as though they are being targeted.

Ahmed Aboushabana is Lydia Shelly's husband and explained to AM what it's like for him to travel these days.

AHMED ABOUSHABANA: I know the drill by now. I go to every airport and I just nowadays open them, give them the palms of my hands and open the bags, because I know, that's what they do every time, every single time. I fly five, six times a year and it happens to me in every airport in every country.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: All the speakers at the forum last night expressed their opposition to Islamic State and terrorism.

But among those listening was the self-styled Islamic preacher Junaid Thorne. Thorne has gained notoriety in the past for sharing some of the same views as Islamic State. He declined to speak to AM.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Michael Edwards reporting.