Terrorism. A word we have seen on the newspaper, on the TV, on articles, on everything. Daesh, is also another word we usually see when talking about terrorism, and terrorist attacks. ISIS known as the Islamic State (or Daesh) of Iraq and Syria has not only terrorized adults all around the world, but also children. Children who were and still are indoctrinated with the fact of going to heaven. Children who have no idea where they are heading too. Children who will be scarred for life with the violence of Daesh. ISIS has brainwashed, manipulated, isolated, forcingly recruited, killed and used many kids as fighters, they say it's a new start to a new loyal generation.
Daesh has been losing territory, but they say their fight is still not over. The amount of children and teens recruited has increased in the last couple years. Charles Winter, a specialist on ISIS propaganda thinks, “ISIS targets children specifically, aiming to create a generation of loyal followers who are indoctrinated from an early age and therefore might be less likely to dissent” (Engel). Their first step, forcingly recruit them and brainwash/manipulate them into joining Daesh. ISIS uses many different platforms to recruit children. Either by social media, or by simply talking to them face to face, and bringing up the idea of joining ISIS. Additionally, they take advantage of the kids that are orphans, kids that are poor, whereas, ISIS promise to give them money, or kids that have no adult defense to protect them. For example, a boy who was interviewed named Ali was only twelve years old when ISIS arrived in his hometown. Few days later his father and older brother were killed by an airstrike. Starting of as a poor family, he had no choice but to sell water tanks to ISIS fighters. Every day, they would try recruiting him. They promised him money, and he admitted to being tempted (Yeung). This story shows how ISIS can easily recruit children when they lack of adult defense, money etc. Along with the ways listed, they can even force children found on the streets of Syria and Iraq to go join ISIS military camps, where they can learn how to fight for Allah (God). Unfortunately, the parents have no control over this situation, and are usually threatened if they don't let their kids join ISIS. Now that they get kids to join forcingly or by manipulation, the next step is to brainwash them.
The second stage is to introduce the children to a religious military camp. All kids that follow ISIS from eight to sixteen years old go to religious military school, where they learn how to fight, use weapons sometimes even bigger and heavier than them, and most importantly do it for Allah. ISIS makes sure to manipulate them by any means, they say they will give them money, nice clothes, a car, weapons and of course a ticket to heaven. They even show children suicide attacks and executions to explain what they want from them, and make it a part of their brainwash. “In this religious military camp, you learn something called ‘listening and obeying.’ You declare, ‘I must listen and obey even if I have to die'” (Boghani). This is what a 14 year old said in an interview. That is just some of their many ways to manipulate and figure out a way to make children loyal to ISIS.
The third step of their indoctrination is to use the children and teenagers in actual attacks. First off, they make sure they are trained enough to fight and use weapons. ISIS then makes them go on a ISIS propaganda video, that shows children using weapons and about to kill spies, or people that have contradicted ISIS. These videos are created to “advertise” and show that children can join ISIS, as well as to show that their loyal generation is increasing and increasing. Further on, before they let them conduct an attack, they make sure they understand that Allah has told them to do jihad, meaning to become better muslims and to do what Allah tells you to do. Then, ISIS indoctrinates them saying that they won't die, but if they do they will go to heaven. Moreover, these kids go on and do what they are supposed to do, fight others, execute people, and perform suicide attacks.
Some people might wonder, why this much fighting just to honor their God and religion? This is what a British suspected to be a member of ISIS named Anjem Choudary said in one of his interviews: “Allah created my tongue to speak. I don't have freedom to come here, because Allah created my feet to walk. So I walk, and I speak, and I look, and I hear according to what God says” (Ward). This is what they want children to understand. ISIS wants them to be loyal to them and Allah. to honor Allah as far as to die for him, because in their opinion it’s the right thing to do.
As an effect of joining ISIS, children have been shocked mentally and are trying to reverse their loyalty to ISIS. Some specialists in the study of violent extremism, such as Dr. Anne Speckhard has said, “These kids are not mentally healthy… They have been turned into monsters” (Yeung). She believes it will be hard for them to forget about what they experienced, but they must absolutely be put in a rehabilitation programs to help them combat ISIS indoctrination.
In conclusion, these children and teenagers, also known to be the Cubs of the Caliphate, is the new generation that ISIS counts on. Their very harsh way of brainwashing and manipulating are so harmful to these kids, that they have trouble getting out of the loyalty they learned to have for ISIS. This is inhumane, and shouldn't happen to anyone in the world. ISIS has put their last full effort on training them, to make the conflict last, and if there are no obstacles to stop them, they will continue and things will get worse.