Al-Qaeda and its offshoots train and indoctrinate newborns, toddlers, preschoolers, primary school students and teens.
MEMRI Increasingly over the past decade, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates and sympathizers have been aiming their outreach and recruitment efforts at pre-teens, and even much younger children. As part of these efforts, Al-Qaeda sheikhs are reaching out directly to Muslim youth.
For example, last year, in an audio lecture released by the Al-Qaeda media arm Al-Sahab, emerging Al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Maulana Asim Umar urged even the youngest Muslims to “not stay with [their] parents” and to leave the “luxury” of home and “city life” to wage jihad, like the Prophet Muhammad before them. In fiery terms, he exhorted them: “A youth whose heart is filled with desire, spirit, and love for jihad does not rest in his home; do not stay with your parents and do not enjoy the luxury of home.
To fulfill the promise, one group preferred to sacrifice love for parents, leave the city life, and go to the mountains of Afghanistan, the snow-covered hills of Kashmir, and to continue fighting the enemy for the supremacy of Islam and to preserve the honor of their mothers and sisters…”
There is direct evidence, particularly as the crisis in Syria continues, that these efforts are paying off. Most recently, on January 28, 2014, it was reported that two teens from Toulouse, France, ages 15 and 16, had been apprehended in Turkey on their way to join the jihad in Syria. The previous week, it was reported that dozens of European teens have gone to fight with Al-Qaeda in Syria. The mother of two sons, also from Toulouse, announced that they had both been killed there, one of them in a suicide bombing
Other ways in which Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are pursuing outreach to children are by conducting training camps in which youngsters train with weapons, and by establishing da’wa centers all over the Arab and Muslim world. Syria offers a unique opportunity for extending their reach and deepening their influence, they are establishing there schools for pre-teen children, for indoctrinating even the very young in the ideology of extreme Salafi-jihadi Islam. ISIS is particularly active in this endeavor.
“New generation of tawhid [monotheism] and jihad!”; “One of the lion cubs of the #Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Teach your children dignity and instill in them pride;” and “The future of this nation… kids want Islam and seek nothing other than this and this is apparent in their games, praise Allah.”
Terror group Jabhar Al-Nusra (JN) released a video showing the group’s outreach efforts in the Al-Ghouta Al-Sharqiyya area outside Damascus. The video, titled “JN Cubs – Towards The Path Of Enablement,” follows a large group of children attending a JN-run shari’a school, at which they study Arabic, learn and memorize Koran and hadiths.
Muslim parents who embrace radical Islam and the Al-Qaeda ideology are busily sharing and tweeting photos and videos of their children, even infants and toddlers, dressed in jihadi garb with parents and other adults. Even newborn infants are shown posed with firearms and explosives that could kill them – grenades, pistols, ammunition, and automatic weapons such as AK-47s – and waving black jihadi flags.
In December 2009, the Ansar Al-Mujahideen website posted online its compilation of videos of jihadi children, titled “The Next Generation of Mujahideen.” The video identifies the jihad groups worldwide to which the children belong, and shows them training, giving speeches, chanting, and praying.
In 2011 and 2012, there were reports that Al-Qaeda children’s camps had been established in Tanzania and Somalia. An April 15, 2010 video released by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen in Somalia showed a festival held for the children of the organization’s martyrs. The video was dedicated to “the believers in Allah’s unity in Nigeria.”
Another boy playing with a toy pistol asks, “Do you know who I am going to kill with this pistol?” The cameraman replies: “Who do you want to kill with this pistol?” The child answers: “The infidels.” The cameraman replies: “Excellent – show me how.”
The late senior Al-Shabab leader, American jihadi Omar Hammami aka Abu Mansour Al-Amriki, told the children: “[T]he children [of the martyrs], the young children, need to work hard to try to be like their heroic fathers who were martyred on this path. Allah willing, we, for our part, will try to fulfill our duties…”
A four-year-old boy firing an AK-47 under the supervision of an approving adult shouting “Allah Akbar.” When the boy, who states that he is with ISIS and is from Uzbekistan, is asked what he would like to say to the infidels, he says: “Oh infidels, we will slaughter you.”
Another widely circulated video shows a group of toddlers and young children chanting praise of JN and denouncing its detractors, the ‘Alawites and supporters of democracy.
Al-Qaeda operative: “Islam unites everyone under one word, with no distinction between skin color, nationality, or anything. The entire Earth belongs to Allah. Islam elevates the Muslims and humiliates the infidels. The ‘Crusaders’ – who are the Christians – are they Muslims or infidels?” Schoolchildren: “They are infidels.”
Masked children sing: “…and our weapon is the PK machine gun. If they call me a terrorist, I will consider it an honor… “Our terror is blessed, a divine call… We have brought slaughter upon you. There will be no agreement.”
“Breastfed pride! One of the lion cubs of #Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen”
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”
In Malay: “Prospective Mujahids, bearers of Tawhid and Jihad, Allah willing”
“Ask yourselves, while this young man is holding magazines for the Islamic state, what are you doing for it?”
“May Allah bless us with cute children like this!” “Lion cubs of the #Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”
In Indonesia: “New generation of tawhid [monotheism] and jihad”
“Youngest terrorist in the world”
“The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria my beloved son.” “Lion cubs.”
DEATH PHOTOS OF CHILD “MARTYRS”
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