The indoctrination of young children, including toddlers who are at a prime stage of development, continues to be a growing facet of Daesh’s violent agenda. Now, the story of yet another family imprisoned by the terrorist group has come to light.
A former ISIS captive and Kurdish mother, Maryam recently spoke of her escape from Daesh. Taking her five-year-old son Hassan with her, Maryam was forced to leave behind her older children including two daughters who she still hasn’t heard from.
Hassan is undergoing such severe trauma that he is unable to speak. He makes violent gestures suggesting the act of killing, something he was taught under Daesh after he was purchased as a slave with his mother by a senior figure in the organisation.
At just three years old, Hassan would “make signs with his fingers like he was shooting” and once even “took a dagger and tried to stab” his mother in the back. “Whatever the emir did, he copied,” said Maryam.
Since escaping, Maryam has been asked for a ransom to get her eldest son back, now 13 years of age. Clad in combat wear, her son appears in a video directly asking for the equivalent of £21,000 – a sum which is impossible to obtain in her circumstances.
Mothers must be aware of the realities of life under Daesh, a group which does not hesitate both to lure families abroad to its cause and to capture and subjugate mothers and children in the territories it controls. Daesh destroys family bonds, often forever.
As a mother, I understand only too well what a mother has to endure. No parent should be subjected to this, or have to witness their own children used as bait to feed an oppressive agenda.
Civil society groups like ours, Women Against Radicalisation Network (WARN), can intervene before Daesh networks attempt to indoctrinate our young children. We will highlight these stories to show the very real trauma being experienced under Daesh in Syria and under other terrorist groups. Daesh’s influence persists in the UK and must be faced head on.