A high-achieving teenager who is ‘immune to brutality’ and a toddler with a ‘marked interest in shooting people’ are just two disturbing examples of how British children taken to Syria to live under Isis have been affected by the terrorist group.
Hundreds of pages from secretive family court hearings, relating to youngsters exposed to extremism by their families, reveal how one five-year-old boy yelled ‘shame’ whenever he saw a woman in a dress, rather than a full burqa.
Another young girl from Yorkshire, whose mother’s iPhone pin code was ‘0911’, was taught a pro-Jihadist chant linked to Osama bin Laden by her family.
The court papers, disclosed as part of a Sunday Times investigation into youngsters who have been exposed to extremism, reveal that at least 20 children have been removed from their families and placed into foster care or other relatives, while others have had their passports taken away.
According to the investigation, a two-year-old boy, known for legal reasons as ‘Y’, lived in Raqqa, Syria, for a period of time and was made to pose with an AK-47 assault rifle. The boy, now four, returned to Britain in 2015 and lives with a grandparent.
In a judgement handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Ms Justice Russell said: ‘The evidence of the social worker is that Y is all too aware of what a gun is and becomes overexcited by the suggestion of guns and shooting, and runs around mimicking shooting and makes noises of gunfire.’
In another case, a 16-year-old girl from Tower Hamlets, east London, who attempted to travel to Syria in December 2014, was removed from a flight just minutes before take-off. Police discovered terrorist material at her family home.
Presiding over the case, Mr Justice Hayden said of the high-achieving student: ‘She gave some of the most disturbing evidence I have ever heard from a child, or, for that matter, an adult. She told me how violent beheadings, point-blank shootings through the brain and images of mass killings no longer had any impact on her.’
More than 100 British women are thought to have travelled with their children to the Middle East to join Islamic State and other terrorist groups.
Chilling videos and images used for propaganda show how youngsters are enrolled into special training camps for children, with pre-teen boys being awarded AK47 assault rifles for good behaviour and firing machine guns.
These so-called ‘Cubs of the Caliphate’ are deemed a terror threat and could potentially ‘commit atrocities’ on their return to Britain, according to one leading counter terrorist expert.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said earlier this year: ‘A child in a war zone would have seen some pretty horrendous things.
‘Some terror groups are training children to commit atrocities.
‘We need to not just understand the risk the mother poses, but the risk that any child poses as well. We look at them on a case-by-case basis and they may be arrested.’
In 2016, a report by Europe’s law enforcement agency also indicated that the terror group had been actively indoctrinating a generation of youngsters to become the next ISIS fighters.
A report from the Quillam Foundation said: ‘The future of children born and raised in Islamic State is a pertinent and pressing problem, requiring the immediate attention of the international community.
‘There are currently 31,000 pregnant women within the ‘caliphate’.
‘As many as 50 children from the United Kingdom are growing up on jihad in Islamic State, and no prior research examines what will happen to them if they choose to return.’
ISIS supporters are known to use children in their videos and images to demonstrate how youngsters are being groomed with the terror group’s radical ideology.
They include Isa Dare, a four-year-old who was filmed apparently detonating a bomb and killing a car full of prisoners.
He had travelled to Syria with his 26-year-old mother, Khadijah Dare, from Lewisham, South London, in 2012.
JoJo Dixon, the son of one-time punk rocker SallyJones, from Kent, was shown in a nine-minute ISIS video appearing to execute a captured prisoner in a firing squad.
The 12-year-old and his mother, dubbed Jihadi Sally, were both killed by a Predator missile near the border of Iraq and Syria in June last year.
Source: Daily Mail