Cracking down on radical preachers and other hardline security measures could undermine the fight against Islamic State by alienating Australian Muslims, a security expert has warned, urging the government to focus on building community resilience.

Senior policymakers, military officials, police and researchers have met in Canberra to share strategies for stopping the flow of Australians to fight with radical militia groups in Syria and Iraq.

The conference heard the problem of radicalisation was "not something the Australian federal police would be able to arrest its way out of". Mounting passport cancellations and terrorism arrests showed the government was "winning the battle but losing the war".

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