Daesh kids rehabilitation strategy ‘insufficient’
Children are being indoctrinated by Daesh and the international community must address this, a new report says.
The Quilliam Foundation and the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative report that children are desensitised to violence from birth and are taught extremist values.
They believe the current rehabilitation strategy will be insufficient for them.
Instead, they propose a new process to assess how much children have been radicalised and a network to monitor it.
A US-led multinational coalition is seeking to drive Daesh out of the large areas of Syria and Iraq it controls, where an estimated eight million people live.
Researchers found that Daesh saw children as critical – not only to meeting the present needs of the group – but also ensuring that it survives the long-term.
The current generation of Daesh fighters see children as better and more lethal fighters than themselves because they have not been corrupted or exposed.
The report said: “Schools and the education system are central to shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation.
“The indoctrination that begins in schools intensifies in training camps, where children between the ages of 10 and 15 are instructed in Sharia [Islamic law], desensitised to violence, and are taught specific skills to best serve the state and take up the banner of jihad.”
Boys adhere to a rigid curriculum, where drawing, history, philosophy and social studies – considered by Daesh to be ‘the methodology of atheism’ – have been censored from their studies.
Instead, lessons involve memorising verses of the Koran and attending jihadist training, which includes shooting, weaponry, and martial arts.
Girls wear a veil and are taught ‘traditional female roles’ like how to cook, clean and support their future husbands.
Boys are allocated tasks in the training camps, including those of spies, preachers, frontline soldiers, executioners and suicide bombers.
The report says new approaches will be required to help children who return or escape from Daesh recover from the severe physical and mental trauma they will have suffered, as well as systematic extremist indoctrination.