CHILDREN OF THE JIHAD, What if They Return?
Director(s): Dorothée LEPINE, Seamus HALEY – Writer(s): Dorothée LEPINE, Edith BOUVIER Contact Print page
As the battle rages in Iraq and Syria to recapture the territories occupied by the so-called Islamic state, one question is on everyone’s mind: What will happen to foreign fighters and their children?
Regardless of whether they are minors, who were brought to the land of the "caliphate" by relatives from abroad, or whether they were born there… These children will be a concern for the entire international community, starting with France and Europe, who are closest to the territory ...
The "caliphate’s babies" were born in recent years in the territories controlled by ISIS. How many? Hundreds, perhaps thousands. Probably 500 already of French origin. Most of them have no nationality, no identity papers, no legal existence. Who will take care of these children if their parents are killed in combat? What to do with them, often enlisted against their will?
Whether the terrorist organisation is eradicated militarily or not in the coming months, ISIS has already prepared its future generation of combatants. Nikita Malik has been working on a report by the Quilliam Foundation (a British think tank against extremism): "ISIS uses children as a means of propaganda on an unprecedented scale”. Are our Western democracies prepared for their return? And what to do with children who have committed atrocities, assassinations?
Experts say it will take a generation to overcome a phenomenon that is not restricted to a particular country and that requires solutions that cannot focus on just punitive measures.