The daughter of African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X says parents need to take more responsibility to make sure young people stay away from radical messages.
Ilyasah Shabazz is in Australia on a speaking tour and has been visiting Islamic schools teaching young people about empowerment and being part of the global community.
But she also has a message for parents about the threats of radicalisation.
“If we don’t take full responsibility for our children’s development, we leave them open to prey – for other people to prey on them,” she said.
Ms Shabazz said children needed to feel like they could contribute to the community.
“I want them to understand their power, the power to be their best selves,” she said.
“It was basically the same information that was given to me by mother, by my parents to understand my power, to understand my role in society, my role as a woman, my role as a person of the African diaspora, my role as a Muslim – there’s something I have to give back to society.”
Ms Shabazz’s visit to Australia follows the fatal shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng at the Parramatta police station by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar Khalil.
The Year 10 student was shot by police after he shot Mr Cheng.
On Wednesday morning, four people were arrested in counter-terrorism raids in Sydney in relation to last week’s shooting.
Students at Melbourne’s International Academy, where Ms Shabazz delivered a speech, said they felt affected by the events in Sydney.
Year 12 student Yusuf Turemis-Djuric said Ms Shabazz’s message was a welcome one.
“It gets me up, it gets me motivated,” he said.
“These things in Sydney, they get me down. I feel depressed and her speech motivates me to feel that I’m not alone and Muslims aren’t all the same.”
Fellow student Eman Shehata said Ms Shabazz inspired her to spread a positive message about Muslims.
“As young Muslims, we have social media, we have Instagram, we have Twitter, all platforms where we can take to to quell this growing fear around Muslims,” she said.
“Every time something negative is portrayed about Muslims we want to show something positive about ourselves and it was really inspirational to hear her telling us the way to go about it.”
Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 but Ms Shabazz said he had been a constant presence in her life.
“My father was in search of peace. Peace between brotherhood, sisterhood, religion, peace for humanity,” she said.
“When you look at the injustices that were occurring similar to what’s occurring today – senseless brutal killings of young people – my father had a profound reaction to that and I think it’s the reason why a lot of young people identify with that.
“My father had impeccable integrity. Was he warring? Not at all. If anything, he was looking for peaceful solutions.”