French priest re­veals IS child ji­hadist train­ing

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE Is­lamic State group may be tee­ter­ing on the brink of col­lapse but the ji­hadists are creat­ing an en­tire new gen­er­a­tion of would-be ter­ror­ists, ac­cord­ing to a book writ­ten by a French Catholic priest de­scrib­ing the daily lives of three young boys.

The Yazidi chil­dren – forced into train­ing camps by the IS – spend their days study­ing the Ko­ran and learn­ing to fire au­to­matic weapons and even have their own bomb belts.

“The Daesh [an­other term for the IS] train­ing camps are ma­chines that crush chil­dren un­til they for­get where they come from” and “feel close to their tor­tur­ers, ready to fight for them with their lives”, said Pa­trick Des­bois, who col­lected the tes­ti­monies of the chil­dren.

In his book, The Mak­ing of Ter­ror­ists, pub­lished in French, Mr Des­bois de­scribes the ul­tra­vi­o­lent daily lives of the three young boys, Jo­tiar, aged nine, Sch­van, 14, and Diar, 15.

“They have to get up early, study the Ko­ran, and then they’re trained in pain re­sis­tance and a spe­cial­i­sa­tion,” Mr Des­bois told AFP.

The spe­cial­i­sa­tions in­clude us­ing a Kalash­nikov, lay­ing bombs and be­com­ing a sui­cide bomber.

The chil­dren “all have an ex­plo­sive belt adapted to their size, a Kalash­nikov and grenades”, he added.

Diar told him, “We didn’t feel any­thing. We felt we were Daesh.”

Some of the chil­dren wit­nessed or even took part in ex­e­cu­tions.

In school, even core sub­jects have been given a ji­hadist flavour.

“In the math­e­mat­ics class, they would learn what is a bul­let plus a bul­let, or a rocket plus a rocket,” Salem Ab­del Mohsen, a fa­ther who did not send his chil­dren to school un­der IS in the small Iraqi vil­lage of Jaraf, said re­cently.

But it is the re­turn to Europe of a mini-army of rad­i­calised and de­sen­si­tised chil­dren that is per­haps most feared by se­cu­rity ser­vices.

As IS con­tin­ues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, French Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls said ear­lier this month that re­turn­ing ji­hadists must be the “main worry” in terms of se­cu­rity for the next “five to 10 years”.

Bel­gian fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Fred­eric Van Leeuw told AFP that Euro­pean coun­tries needed to be trained in how to deal with chil­dren “ed­u­cated in vi­o­lence”.

“We al­ready have peo­ple mak­ing con­tact with em­bassies in or­der to re­turn – mainly women and chil­dren,” said Van Leeuw.

Many of these chil­dren have been born in IS ter­ri­tory.

Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish coun­tert­er­ror­ism think tank the Quil­liam Foun­da­tion, the IS be­lieves the next gen­er­a­tion of fight­ers will be “bet­ter and more lethal” than them­selves as “rather than be­ing con­verted into rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies” those chil­dren have been “in­doc­tri­nated” from birth.

Mr Quil­liam be­lieves there are around 31,000 preg­nant women in ISheld ter­ri­tory.

French public pros­e­cu­tor Fran­cois Molins said the worry was that the IS trained chil­dren would be “tick­ing time bombs” upon their re­turn.

“For the last few months, IS has stepped up its ef­forts to re­cruit child sol­diers by pub­lish­ing videos on the in­ter­net show­ing very young fight­ers,” added Mr Molins.

By show­ing their “cubs of the caliphate”, the ji­hadist or­gan­i­sa­tion is try­ing to demon­strate its abil­ity to “train, re­li­giously as much as mil­i­tar­ily, the off­spring” of its mem­bers to “show Western coun­tries” the “longevity” of the threat fac­ing them.

A video in July 2015 in which 25 ado­les­cents ex­e­cuted pris­on­ers in Palmyra was an ex­am­ple of this type of pro­pa­ganda.

Amongst the hun­dreds of chil­dren trained in IS camps are the younger brother of one of the co­or­di­na­tors of the 2015 Paris at­tacks and a 12-yearold nephew of Mo­hamed Merah, who mur­dered seven peo­ple in south­west­ern France in 2012 in a spate of ji­hadists at­tacks. –

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