Archive for the ‘Islam and child soldiers’ category

Jihadi Children Return to Europe: ‘Purer’ Than Adult Fighters

December 11, 2016

Jihadi Children Return to Europe: ‘Purer’ Than Adult Fighters, Clarion Project, Leslie Shaw, December 11, 2016

isis-kids-640-320_0Photo: Islamic State propaganda video)

The problem is that there is no plan on how to deal with these children whose indoctrination began at birth with inculcation of Islamic doctrine and memorization of passages from the Koran. They are seen as purer than adult fighters because they have never been exposed to secular values and therefore have a superior understanding of Islam.


The projected defeat of Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria may prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for Europe given that it will result in the return of combatants trained to carry out attacks on the home front.

An ancillary issue is the repatriation of children who either travelled to Syria alone or with their parents, or who were born there. They are a key component in Islamic State’s strategy to develop the next generation of jihadists.

In May 2016, Patrick Calvar, head of French national security, revealed that around 400 French minors were present in the combat zone. Two-thirds of these had travelled there with their parents and one-third were born there and are now under the age of four. One five-year-old girl was abandoned in Syria following the death of her father, Eddy Leroux, who had left France with his wife and four children in August 2014 to wage jihad in Syria.

He was killed a year later and his wife returned to France with three of their children, leaving the youngest in the hands of Islamic State. The mother was jailed in France for abandoning and endangering the child.

Islamic State propaganda videos show these children wearing balaclavas engaged in military training: hand-to-hand combat, body-building, shooting with assault weapons, hostage-taking and suicide bombing. They are slapped and beaten with sticks by adults to desensitize them to violence.  In some cases they carry out executions of prisoners by shooting, beheading and detonation of explosives.

For the children who return to France, reintegration will not be easy. What should be done with a child who has carried out an execution?

Calvar says these offspring of jihad have been raised to hate Western values and are potential time-bombs. “They have been trained and instrumentalized by Islamic State.“

The problem is that there is no plan on how to deal with these children whose indoctrination began at birth with inculcation of Islamic doctrine and memorization of passages from the Koran. They are seen as purer than adult fighters because they have never been exposed to secular values and therefore have a superior understanding of Islam.

Intelligence and psychology experts reckon that it will take a generation to bring them back to normality.

Why Is it So Hard to Condemn The Indoctrination of Children for Jihad?

August 25, 2016

Why Is it So Hard to Condemn The Indoctrination of Children for Jihad? Counter JihadBruce Cornibe, August 25, 2016

(Hamas and Fatah have their “fair” share of them too. — DM)


The news lately seems to be full of cases of children influenced by jihad: the boy in Kirkuk who was wearing a belt laced with explosive material in an apparent suicide bombing effort, the likely ISIS video of a little girl threatening violence while beheading a toy doll, etc.

One doesn’t have to focus on the Islamic State or the Middle East in general to see children being used to further this jihadist agenda – it’s taking place even in the West and it has been happening for years. We saw a perfect example of this back in 2012 from a conference supposedly hosted by Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia – an eight-year-old girl named Ruqaya called upon other Muslim youth to reestablish the Caliphate. Allegedly speaking in front of a crowd of 600 individuals, Ruqaya announced:

“My dear brothers and sisters in Islam, as the world gathers against the believers in Syria … seeking to hijack our sincere and blessed uprisings, children in Sydney would like to send their message of hope and support to the Muslims of (Syria), especially to the children and mothers,” she read from notes. “These uprisings have demonstrated that this umma (global Muslim community) is alive and well, her love is for jihad, she is unshackled herself from the fear which she held, and she yearns to once again live under the banner of (the Islamic state).

“Children as young as myself can be seen on the streets joining the uprisings, risking their lives to bring food, water and medicine to their wounded family members, some of them never returning to their mothers … Nobody is too young,” she said.

Or a couple of years ago when it was discovered how an Ontario mosque was having children simulate beheadings in their play. When is the West going to wake up and learn that these are not random occurrences but a systematic attempt within radical Islam to wage jihad at all costs. It’s hard to imagine a more diabolical way for jihadists to “cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve[,]” than to have innocent children involved in committing violent acts. Furthermore, to the radical Muslim, “War is deceit[,]” thus unexpected child soldiers provide a strategic advantage. It’s time for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to speak out against this corruption of the youth before we lose the next generation.

Turkish Gov’t Children’s Magazine Promotes Martyrdom

March 30, 2016

Turkish Gov’t Children’s Magazine Promot, Clarion Project, March 30, 2016

Islamic-State-Afghan-School-IP_1Illustrative Photo: An Islamic State school for children in Afghanistan. (Video screenshot)

A cartoon published by the Turkish Ministry of Religious Affairs shows a father extolling the virtues of Islamic martyrdom to his son.

The issue of the children’s magazine is meant to promote dialogue between parents and children. In the cartoon, a father asks his son, “Do you want to be a martyr?” The son replies, “Of course I want to be a martyr. Who doesn’t want to go to heaven?”

The son then explains that “heaven is happy with martyrs” and that much praise is heaped upon the martyr making him wish that he could have been martyred 10 times.  The cartoon ends with the son saying, “I wish I could be killed as martyr.”

According to the Turkish news outlet Cumhuriyet, the magazine has met harsh criticism. Psychologist and Professor Dr. Serdar Degirmencioglu, a critic of Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented, “Religiosity has, in recent years, turned into a literal political tool. They do not even hide it. The Ministry of Religion was provided more money than several other ministries combined and continues intensive work for religious children.”

He added, “They want to use the drawings to transfer the message of martyrdom to children because they think it will be more attractive. ‘Martyrs suffer,’ ‘sins forgiven’ it says. So it’s a painless death and a promise of heaven.”

Degirmencioglu noted the similarity between this worldview and the Islamic State remarking, “Turkey is overwhelmed with the pain of these massacres and with those pursuing the mentality of religiosity. All this has led to the death of people, an exact same mentality, that blinds people to the horrors of what the Religious Affairs Ministry is trying to spread to children in Turkey.”

“The children will grow up and they will run toward death when those in power tell them to,” he said.

Terrorist Groups Intensify Targeting of Children for Jihad

March 10, 2016

Terrorist Groups Intensify Targeting of Children for Jihad, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abha Shankar, March 10, 2016

Children 1

Children have become a key target group for recruitment by terrorist groups who are increasingly turning to social media to showcase their successful efforts in indoctrinating them for jihad. In January, for example, Wilayat Khorasan (or “Khorasan Province”), the Islamic State (ISIS)’s branch in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, released a propaganda video titled, “Cubs of the Caliphate Camp,” that showed young boys undergoing training for jihad.

Screenshots from the video showed young boys dressed in camouflage learning how to fire Kalashnikov assault rifles. The training center, likely located in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, is reported to be the fourth such Islamic State training facility in the region.

Similar camps are openly flourishing in Syria and Iraq, where children are being actively recruited by ISIS to serve as the next generation of fighters for the terrorist group. A new report published in the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point’s CTC Sentinel claims that in the past year, at least 89 male child soldiers were eulogized as “martyrs” on Twitter as well as the Islamic State’s official Telegram channel. The child soldiers hailed from countries as varied as Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Nigeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Libya, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

Four percent of the child soldiers died conducting suicide missions and another 18 percent were inghimasis (meaning “to plunge” in Arabic) – that meant that the children fought alongside adults to attack enemy positions with light automatic weapons and subsequently killed themselves by detonating suicide vests, the report said.

The published photographs of the child martyrs showed a consistent “theme of happiness at the prospect of martyrdom.” Children could be seen “standing in orchards and meadows, scenery presumably chosen to echo the paradise to which they thought they were destined.”

Another important conclusion of the report was that, unlike other conflicts where child soldiers are a “strategy of last resort” and serve to replace adults in battle, ISIS’ child soldiers “are fighting alongside, rather than in lieu of, adult males.”

Children 2

Recruiting children not only ensures a next generation of fighters for a terrorist group but it’s also easier brainwashing young impressionable minds. “It’s been done for the same reasons that Hitler had the Hitler Youth,” Charlie Winter of the Quillam Foundation, a counter-terrorism think tank based in London, told NBC News.

“There’s no term better suited to it than brainwashing,” Winters added. “These children won’t have any point of reference other than jihadism so the ideology will be a lot more firm in their heads and lot more difficult to dislodge.”

In October, London-based Channel 4 News published a video that showcased examples of ISIS “nurturing a new generation for the Caliphate to fight infidels.”Children undergo rigorous physical training and pledge allegiance to the terrorist group by declaring: “I must listen and obey even if I have to die.”

A former instructor who escaped one such camp after being “disillusioned by the scale of violence” perpetrated by ISIS confessed that the terrorist group convinces children into jihad by telling them that “It’s written in the Quran you have to fight jihad” and that “all of us will die martyrs and reach heaven, all of us.”

Children who refuse to fight jihad on behalf of ISIS not only risk death, but also of torture and other punishment. In one horrifying example, ISIS chopped off a 14-year-old’s hand and foot with a butcher’s knife as a warning to other children not to resist taking up arms in support of the group. ISIS told the gathered children and teenagers, “This man is an infidel so we will cut off his hand and foot,” and “All those who fight against us will have their hands and feet cut off.”

Children also are encouraged to spy on their parents who, in turn, risk death if they object to their kids joining the terrorist group.

In July, ISIS released a video showing a young boy beheading a soldier serving in the Syrian Army under the watch of a senior militant near the ancient city of Palmyra. Earlier last year, ISIS released a video showing a boy who appeared to be younger than 15-years-old behead two alleged Russian spies. In another example, Khaled Sharrouf, who left Australia to join Islamic State fighters in Syria, posted a photo of his young son holding up a decapitated head of a man.

Groups such as ISIS have “aggressively targeted children for recruitment, providing free lectures and schooling that included weapons and other military training,” a Human Rights Watch report said.

This was confirmed by a United Nations report that asserted that children as young as 12 or 13 are being recruited by ISIS to undergo military training in Mosul, Iraq. Boys who had been forcibly recruited by the Islamic State but managed to escape confessedto their families that they had been “forced to form the front line to shield” fighters as well as coerced to donate blood for injured fighters. ISIS also uses children for propaganda purposes, and the report cited an example of militants forcing two sick children at a cancer hospital in Mosul to pose for pictures holding the Islamic State flag that were subsequently posted on the Internet.

Children 3

The Islamic State also has been using the Internet to ensnare young girls into jihad. Online chat rooms routinely advisegirls “on how to discretely disobey their parents and sneak away” to the Islamic State. When girls express concern at the financial cost of taking the trip, they’re told to “get in touch privately and we will help you out.” The terrorist group has also set up a “marriage bureau” in Aleppo province of northern Syria for “single women and widows who would like to marry ISIS fighters.”

Recruiting children for jihad is not restricted to just the Islamic State. A report on claims the Taliban has enlisted hundreds of children to wage jihad in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2006. Several juvenile recruits join the Taliban willingly to avenge the killing of family members. The new volunteers then go through a “systematic motivation process” where “they are made to watch video films, showing physical torture and killing of Muslims [sic] women and children in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Somalia by what they call infidels,” the report said.

In a May feature story on child suicide bombers, the CBS News program 60 Minutesnoted that children as young as 7 are being recruited as suicide bombers in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Children accept what you say after you talk to them just a couple of times,” a Taliban commander said. “They can be used in rickshaw, bicycle or motorcycle attacks.”

Training takes four to seven months, he added, and recruits were picked up for different tasks based on their abilities, including for the job of a suicide bomber.

Documents from the Joint Intelligence Group at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay included statements from detainees that detailed methods employed by the Taliban to indoctrinate children. “Taliban used hard-line interpretation of the Quran as a recruitment tool” and “[j]uveniles are more willing to martyr themselves due to their lack of reasoning on taking innocent lives,” the documents show.

In the PBS documentary Children of the Taliban, journalist Sharmeen Obaid Chinoyinterviewed Taliban commander Qari Hussain, who bragged recruiting children as young as five. “Children are tools to achieve God’s will. And whatever comes your way, you sacrifice it,” Hussain said.

Child recruitment also is widespread among terrorist groups operating in Africa. In Mali, jihadists recruit poor children from rural areas who have been sent to distant Islamic schools by their families, who cannot afford to pay for their school fees or to feed them. Sometimes the children volunteer to join the terrorist group for money or following indoctrination in religious schools.

In Nigeria, Boko Haram has been using girls between the ages of 11 and 15 as female suicide bombers to spread terror in the region. “It’s easier for women and girls to slip into crowds where they can carry out mass atrocities than for men,” Mausi Segun, a Nigerian researcher with Human Rights Watch in the capital city of Abuja, explained. “In northern Nigeria, the dressing of the woman gives her the ability to move about with all kinds of things undetected. She wears a long, voluminous head veil that reaches, sometimes, to the ankles – and also because security forces are not prone to searching women.”

Children 4

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has beenimparting military training to children in the Gaza Strip to fight against Israel through summer camps specifically set up for the purpose for several years. In March 2015, the Israel-based Center for Near East Policy Research (CNEPR)released a documentary, “Children’s Army of Hamas,” that shows extensive training and indoctrination footage from Hamas summer camps, including children engaging in target practice with combat rifles, rockets, and anti-aircraft equipment. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh can be heard at the documentary’s conclusion saying: “Jews, beware! This generation is not afraid to confront you in your centers. This is the generation of the stones! This is the generation of the missiles! This is the generation of the tunnels! This is the generation of the suicide bombers!”

Hamas has used its media arm, Al-Aqsa TV, to indoctrinate Palestinian children and glorify jihad for years. In 2007, the television show, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers” featured a Mickey Mouse knockoff named Farfour. For several weeks, Farfour and his child co-host urged children to violently resist Israel while touting the supremacy of Islam. After Farfour refused to succumb to pressure from “authorities” to give up his land, his co-host Saraa informed viewers that he had been “martyred at the hands of the criminals, the murderers, the murderers of innocent children….”

Five Child-Incitement Hot Spots

November 10, 2015

Five Child-Incitement Hot Spots, The Clarion Project, Meira Svirsky, November 9, 2015



Hamas and the Palestinian Authority

A television show for pre-schoolers, a theater contest at a school, hit songs that encourage the use of “cleavers and knives” – all are mediums used by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to teach Palestinian children to hate Jews and incite them to punch, stab shoot and otherwise kill the “enemy.”

Palestinian textbooks teach their children that Israel has no right to exist; the Palestinian Authority uses sports events to glorify terrorists, naming tournaments and festivals after the most gruesome killers; Hitler is held up as the ultimate role model in PA schools and on their Facebook pages; and the PA media teaches children the pleasure and rewards of martyrdom.

In addition to all the above methods, Hamas provides military training and indoctrination for kids through their summer camps in which Palestinian children receive paramilitary training, including how [to] make a homemade rocket and how to fire guns (training uses live ammunition).

Islamic State (ISIS)

One of the stated strategies of the Islamic State is to assure the continuation of the “caliphate” and its mission by training the next generation in their methodology and dogma. The following video report (see below) by Irmi, a media outlet based in the UAE, shows the indoctrination of the “Caliphate Cubs,” the Islamic State’s children’s division.

Children are brainwashed to join the Islamic State in a number of ways. After targeting a community for takeover, the Islamic State will typically kill the men, enslave the women and girl and take the young boys to be trained killers for the caliphate.

In addition, Islamic State supporters from Arab countries as well as Europe have been encouraged to bring their young boys to Islamic State territory (a call which they have heeded) to receive training.

Boys as young as five learn how to shoot and slaughter through a variety of methods — lynching, beheading and suicide bombings.


Al-Shabaab, the brutal Islamist terror organization responsible for the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, recruits children for use as soldiers. Children are lured to join the group through the use of extremist propaganda and material rewards. Religious events in mosques provide fertile ground for recruitment as well. Mosques in the United States, in areas with a heavy Somali immigrant population, such as Minnesota, have also played roles in recruiting older boys, even those born and raised in the U.S. Al-Shabaab has also proven remarkably sophisticated in its use of the Internet to post recruitment appeals aimed directly at young Somali-Americans that feature glorified battle scenes and personal testimonials from Somali-Americans already among its ranks.


Although Pakistan was conceived as a homeland for Muslims whose founder envisioned equal rights for all citizens (including minorities), a study of the country’s text books shows children in Pakistani schools are being taught prejudice and intolerance of all religions except Islam. In addition, the study found that most teachers were found to view non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam.”

The finding of the study, conducted by the U.S. government, “indicate how deeply ingrained hard-line Islam is in Pakistan and help explain why militancy is often supported, tolerated or excused in the country.”

A 2011 Pew Reseach Center study found Pakistan to be the third most intolerant country in the world.

”Teaching discrimination increases the likelihood that violent religious extremism in Pakistan will continue to grow, weakening religious freedom, national and regional stability, and global security,” said Leonard Leo, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

A separate study by the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Church of Pakistan also surveyed found that Pakistani textbooks for children “inculcated hatred.” The organization has called for their removal.

“Teaching hatred or harm to students is illegal,” said Peter Jacob, executive director of the Centre for Social Justice. Yet, “There are no checks on independent publishers and the material they publish. Either the government carefully monitors these publishers or it bans some of the textbooks they publish.”


Britain has been rocked by the “Trojan Horse” scandal in Birmingham and other locations where Islamist extremists have managed to take control of a number of publicly-funded schools and use them as a platform to disseminate their discriminatory views.

A report by the former head of the Metropolitan police force’s counter-terrorism division found there was a “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos” into a few schools in Birmingham.”

“This has been achieved in a number of schools through gaining influence on the governing bodies, installing sympathetic head teachers or senior members of staff, appointing like-minded people to key positions, and seeking to remove head teachers who they do not feel to be sufficiently compliant with their agenda,” the report said.

Children at these schools are being encouraged to accept unquestioningly a hardline version of Sunni Islamism, leaving them vulnerable to radicalization later on, according to the report.

British Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said, “Teachers have said they fear children are learning to be intolerant of difference and diversity. Instead of enjoying a broadening and enriching experience in school, young people are having their horizons narrowed and are being denied the opportunity to flourish in a modern multicultural Britain.”