What are Islamist “cubs” being taught?
A 24-page Daesh document obtained by the Guardian reads that the camp education includes “Sharia sessions in [jurisprudence], doctrine and rulings, with special sessions in Islamic society and manners, and training on bearing light arms and the principles of use.”
“Training on bearing arms and principles of use” means that the children are being taught to kill. Under the personal supervision of their “instructors”, young children and teenagers behead prisoners captured by Daesh.
The boys are also being trained to use AK-47 assault rifles. Numerous videos have appeared on YouTube featuring children dressed in camouflage and carrying weapons. The boys are practicing combat and being beaten by “instructors.” They are chanting Islamist slogans and executing Syrian POWs in front of the camera.For instance, in July 2015, Daesh released a 10-minute video of the execution of 25 Syrian soldiers in Palmyra. The shooting of the prisoners was carried out by children; some of the executioners appeared to be less than 10 years old.
Furthermore, Daesh has repeatedly used mentally challenged children as suicide bombers, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
It still remains unclear how many military training camps for minor children have been established in the Daesh-controlled zones. Jihadists claim that there are hundreds of “education centers” for “Islamic State cubs.”
Lots of would-be fighters are being recruited in mosques, and sometimes in the streets of the towns occupied by Daesh. Since most of schools have been closed, many children enroll for Islamist camps. Reportedly, Daesh is “generously” paying the parents of young jihadists.
In Germany in the 1930s, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party expanded its infamous Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend), an organization for high school-aged boys. Younger boys (aged 10-14) could join the German Youth (Deutsches Jungvolk). In these paramilitary organizations, German boys were indoctrinated in the ethnocentric, militaristic, eugenics-oriented values of the party and primed for instigating the Second World War and the holocaust.
The use of young children in warfare has become more pronounced since the end of WWII; they were used extensively in the civil wars which were fought in the 1990’s in Liberia and Sierra Leone and in more recent insurrections in Uganda and northern Nigeria. According to the United Nations, Daesh-affiliated Boko Haram has deployed children as young as 8 years of age to the front lines for use as human shields.
In the eyes of the jihadists, this generation of children is the next generation of the “Islamic Caliphate”, which will continue to fight against Western civilization and their Muslim counterparts who reject fundamentalist Islam.