CANBERRA, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Muslim leaders in Australia need to be "loud in their condemnation" of Islamic extremism while Australia also needs to have an "honest conversation" about the threat posed by terrorism, a government minister said Thursday.

On social media on Thursday morning and in a speech overnight, Multicultural Affairs Minister Zed Seselja has delivered Canberra's strongest message yet about Islamic extremism, declaring that Australians needed to stop "pretending that Islamist terrorists are mentally ill and not driven by an extreme ideology."

"We must have an honest conversation about terrorism and get tough on all forms of extremism and violence," Seselja posted to social media platform Twitter.

The comments followed a terror attack Monday that saw a gunman kill one man and take a woman hostage at an apartment building in a Melbourne suburb. Last week a man forced a Malaysia Airlines flight to return to Melbourne earlier when he demanded access to the cockpit, claiming he had an explosive device.

Seselja's comment came after he was invited to speak at an open forum in Parramatta overnight, during which he said it was important that the government calls out terrorism for "what it is", and even more important for moderate Muslims - who had been too quiet on recent events - to denounce terrorism and terrorist ideologies.

"It's important that we call it how we see it. We need moderate Muslims to be loud in their condemnation in their communities," Seselja said in comments published on Thursday.

"Our freedom, our values, and in some cases our lives are under threat from barbaric Islamist terrorists -- they want to harm us as individuals, our families, our communities, and our way of life."

"Those who believe in this ­Islamist ideology are a small minority of Muslims, but there are still far too many of them. So it's on the majority -- ­including the moderate, peaceful Muslims of our world -- to rise up against this," Seselja said.

In the wake of terror attacks overseas and in Melbourne in the past fortnight, Australia needed to have an "open discussion" about the scourge while also promoting the vast majority of "good (Muslim) citizens," Seselja said.

"We are surely mature enough as a nation to have an open discussion about the inspiration for Islamist terrorism in Salafist jihadist teaching, while acknowledging that most Muslims in Australia are good citizens who reject this ­extremism," he said.