DORMANT colonies of terrorists are in Sydney and could pose a threat to Australia's national security, according to Iraq's most senior diplomat.
Iraq ambassador Hussain Al-Ameria also warned that extremist recruiters were targeting teenagers in major cities, including Sydney and Melbourne.
He told The Australian some mosques were being monitored by authorities after becoming associated with "Wahhabi Salafi ideology".
"They are active here (in Australia) and they believe in this Salafi Wahhabi. This is the ideological background of ISIS," Dr Al-Ameri told the newspaper.
Through the internet, Australians were able to associate with terror groups.
"The world is one village through the internet. Accordingly, the contact between countries is very easy so we have a big concern for such persons or for such groups, because they may affect us indirectly.
"For example, when anyone with Australian citizen(ship) - when he's coming to Iraq we will say 'welcome' - we are not expecting that he's a terrorist."
"But maybe he's a member of a 'sleeping colony'. And maybe he was brainwashed already because the people who practise brainwashing are already present in Australia, and they are active."
Counter-radicalisation expert and Labor MP Anne Lay said while recruiters had targeted teenagers in Indonesia by offering cash, she had not heard of it occurring in Australia. Muslim preacher Sheik Wesam Charkawi said he worked with lots of youth in Sydney and it was not something he had heard about.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.