VIDEO: ISIS Orphans - A Next-Gen Recruiting Ground?
Thu, March 17, 2016
Orphans bring out emotions of sadness and pity in many of us. Often it’s difficult to find a carer who will see to their every need, clothing, schooling, entertainment.
Literature is peppered with stories of the parentless. Arguably the best known example is that of Dickens’ Oliver Twist, which shows the true cruelty orphans can face. Elsewhere, despite the challenges, orphans became the heroes who saved the day - take Batman and Harry Potter for example.
In reality, orphans’ lives can be intensely difficult. This comes into sharp relief at times of natural disasters and wars. Many are kidnapped by those who exploit the chaos for their own benefit.
The Islamic State is planning for the future - its next generation of fighters. There is no one better for this than orphans.
ISIS recently published a video clip in which it shows the way it treats orphans – those ripe for brainwashing. The video of course does not tell us how the children lost their parents. ISIS may want us to think these are the children of fighters or residents of the Islamic State, who died during enemy attacks.
However, it may well be that the parents of these children were killed or executed by ISIS, or that ISIS simply kidnapped these kids.
It’s not easy to estimate the number of orphans living in ISIS-controlled areas. The figure is in the hundreds at the very least and likely far higher.
Early in the clip, the narrator says the way ISIS treats children is far better than in the pre-ISIS days. Previously they were abused, he says, as the film shows them dancing in what looks like an afternoon program.
Later, we watch happy children playing and eating together. For a moment one might think this is the work of a charitable organization, whose main aim is to give joy to the children.
This impression begins to change somewhat when we are told the children must pray each day and learn the sharia religious code.
This is compounded when children head to their lockers in which we see toys alongside what appear to be military uniforms, which they don subsequently. The young then begin sporting exercises but these are clearly reminiscent of military training.
It’s not the first time in history that we see children exploited for war and propaganda nor will it be the last.
However, the thought that in the matter of a few years these children will become ISIS’ henchmen and possible jihadists, launching attacks around the world, is serious cause for concern. In the absence of other forces in the area and given ISIS’ free hand, it appears the period of innocence of children is getting ever shorter.