1st Edition

Islamic State in Australia

By Rodger Shanahan Copyright 2023

    This book fills a gap in our knowledge about the activities of Western supporters and members of Islamic State by examining the experience of their Australian cohort.

    More than 200 Australian men, women and children travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamist groups and to help establish an Islamic State by force. Dozens more assisted Islamic State by supporting those overseas or by planning or carrying out terrorist attacks in Australia. For all that, little is publicly known about the impact of the Syrian conflict on Australia’s radical Islamists. This book provides a well-researched examination of how and why so many Australians travelled to fight for or otherwise supported Islamic State. From the failed attempt to bring down an Etihad passenger plane en route from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, to showing their children holding the heads of Syrian soldiers, Australians were prominent in carrying out Islamic State’s directions. Using a range of Australian and foreign court records, social and mainstream media content, this book provides the first detailed look at who these people were, what tasks they carried out, how they came to adopt this radical view of Islam and what long-term legal and security implications are likely to result from their actions.

    This book will be of interest to students of terrorism, political Islam and security studies.


    1. Joining Jihad

    2. Jihad at Home

    3. The Role of Women

    4. The Path to Jihad

    5. What does the Future Hold?



    Rodger Shanahan is a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute. He has a PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies from the University of Sydney and is a former army officer with operational experience in Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan and East Timor and diplomatic postings to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He has provided expert witness evidence in more than 30 Australian terrorism cases.