Zealot: Convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf of Sydney has been posting pictures of himself this weekend posing with an automatic weapon and a sparkling clean luxury car.

Zealot: Convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf of Sydney has been posting pictures of himself this weekend posing with an automatic weapon and a sparkling clean luxury car. Photo: Twitter

It is the desire to help people, to rebuild communities and provide support to orphans, children and victims of the fighting in Syria and Iraq that is driving the recruitment of young men from Sydney, according to a senior member of the Muslim community.

Abu Ibrahim said the young men he has spoken to are not motivated by violence, and are genuine in their quest to provide humanitarian assistance, but they just don't realise what they are getting into. 

"This is not internet jihad," said Abu Ibrahim. "Their desire is to help, not to go and get trained and come back to do terrible things.They are also motivated by the establishment of an Islamic state. They want to be part of it and migrate to a country that implements Sharia law." 

Abu Ibrahim said he has advised the young men  to pull back and think things through.

"I tell them there are no benefits, once you are there you are on your own, there is no support. 

"People come and talk to me and I listen, I try to educate them. I worry about them I don't want them to get hurt or do stupid things," he said.

"A lot of people want to go and help the refugees in Jordan and Turkey but I warn them that it could end up with your passport cancelled, and then you can't live your life in the way you want.

"You can't travel when you want. Importantly you can't go the Haj (religious pilgrimage)."

The former owner of Al Risalah Bookstore, Wissam Haddad, knows many young men who have had their passports cancelled because the authorities feared they were about to travel to the conflict zones.

"There is nothing sinister about them wanting to provide aid to women and children," he said.

Mr Haddad agreed that some of them are keen to live in a country under Islamic rule because it is an "ideal lifestyle" but it doesn't mean they are supporters of ISIL.

At least three teenagers, including Abdullah Elmir, a 17-year-old from Bankstown,   have run away from home recently and are believed to be heading to Syria or Iraq.

Abu Ibrahim has had his passport cancelled and he said he has been threatened by the authorities with a long jail term if he is involved with sending young men to Syria and Iraq.

The experience has left him bitter and angry because he says he has done nothing wrong.

"I am a proud Australian. I grew up here, I went to primary school here and I love this country," he said.

But he said the community is constantly being harassed and pushed towards the point of retaliation.

He said the government needs to slow down a bit and talk to them instead of threatening them.

"What they are doing is creating something in Australia, the most beautiful country in the world, that wasn't there before.

"This is not ISIS. This is also not a terrorist group."

He said his community in Sydney's south is scared "the peace this country has provided us with is being taken away."

He said the new laws proposed by the government were seen as the start of something bigger.

"The next thing we will be putting on wristbands and people will be given the green light to attack us in the street. We are looking at the worst case scenario."

Jihadists wage war by social media

The photographs being posted on social media alternate between glamorous selfies and extraordinarily gruesome images.

In the first social media-led war, dubbed "twitter jihad", participants are using all possible social media platforms to get their messages out, and none more so than a couple of Australians believed to be in Syria and Iraq.

Convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf from Sydney has been posting pictures of himself this weekend posing with an automatic weapon and a sparkling clean luxury car saying  "Come and be part of what we have dreamt [sic] For for decades." He has been documenting his time with pictures that have included himself crouched over bodies while holding a gun.

Melbourne University researcher David Malet said a lot of the messaging in these conflicts had been about "come and be a hero".

"Today, everybody is their own publicist, you can glamourise yourself by posting selfies from war zones," he said.

But among the pictures and videos that are emerging from the conflict zones are disturbing images of men, apparently killed in battle, who died with smiles on their faces.

On Saturday, Sharrouf was retweeting an horrific picture believed to be posted by another Sydney man, former boxer Mohamed Elomar, of a pile nine severed heads on a blanket.

Another photo showed the body of man with half his head blown away and the caption "Inshaallah mustapha muhammad (abu sulayman al muhajir) ends up like this". Abu Sulayman al-Muhajir is a former Australian cleric who is with the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra group in Syria, which is now in conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Others are using social media networks to encourage more to join them, and one man who was in Turkey early last week and said he was from Australia, told an Australian woman he was conversing with to follow him. 

"Just come," he told her. "It's easy."