More children are being lured to Syria to join ISIS

More children are being lured to Syria to join ISIS

“An estimated 4,000 Westerners have traveled to Syria and Iraq, more than 550 of them women and girls, to join the Islamic State.”

The Islamic State is known for many things, the most notorious of which are their thirst for blood and their extremist propaganda.

What is less known about the terrorist group is that they are extremely good at luring the youth from their homes and into Syria.

Just last year, three teenage girls from Bethnal Green Academy in London abruptly left their happy family homes, flew to Turkey, and rode a bus to the Syrian border so they could join ISIS.

The story of Khadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase made worldwide headlines and puzzled the world at large.

“An estimated 4,000 Westerners have traveled to Syria and Iraq, more than 550 of them women and girls, to join the Islamic State,” said a New York Times report.

Everyday teenagers like Khadiza, Shamima and Amira are lured in by jihadist militants with the prospects of wealth and royalty and the marriage to a capable man—promises the Islamic State make to create an image of paradise in Syria.

“Social media has allowed the group’s followers to directly target young women, reaching them in the privacy of their bedrooms with propaganda that borrows from Western pop culture—images of jihadists in the sunset and messages of empowerment,” said the same report.

“For the girls, joining ISIS is a way to emancipate yourself from your parents and from the Western society that has let you down,” said Ms. Havlicek of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

But ISIS’s propaganda goes far and wide, targeting not only westerners and girls; they have reached countries as far as Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

In Jakarta, 14 people who were attempting to travel to Syria were nabbed by the police at Jakarta's international airport, nine of which were children.

They were detained by police for several hours for questioning, and were asked about their suspected plans to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group, according to reports.

It is suspected that at least 500 Indonesians have travelled to Syria to join ISIS, with more than 40 believed to have died in battles. In the Philippines and Malaysia, some militants have already pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Meanwhile, a report said that the Islamic State also aims to set up a regional caliphate that includes Singapore.

Protecting your child from joining ISIS

Most of the teenagers who have fled for Syria are ordinary children with happy families and home situations; this makes their leaving so devastating. You expect that you know your children only to be proven wrong.

“It also uses social media skilfully, makes people believe they need to kill in the name of God, and has recruited over 30,000 foreign fighters—some 1,000 of them from South-east Asia,” says a report.

It’s important then that you teach your children important world issues; ignoring them issues would only do a disservice to your kids. They would grow up thinking the world is filled with rainbows and butterflies.

There is also no harm in limiting their exposure on social media and let them focus instead on a different activity like reading or playing sports.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.

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Written by

James Martinez

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