Education Decreases Risk of Radicalization Among Refugee Children

Since the beginning of November, reports of a new “mini-caliphate” forming in northeast Syria have trickled across media platforms. In the Al Hol holding camp, radicalization and the indoctrination of children occur. Children as young as ten threaten to kill others who do not submit to ISIS ideology on camera.

Emily Klooster, executive director for Tent Schools International, says kids left uneducated are especially vulnerable to radicalization. The organizations and people partnered with Tent Schools do not reside in areas with previous ISIS control, but most work with kids whose lives were upended by ISIS’s reign.

“These kids often feel very discouraged, as we could understand, thinking about the conditions they’ve been left in and everything they’ve lost. They feel hopeless. They really have lost everything. Many of them arrive, having lost even their immediate families, in addition to having lost their homes, communities, schools, friends. So, ISIS can indeed, and does use brainwashing techniques to kind of play off of these kids’ sense of trauma, loss, anger,” Klooster says.

Need for Stability and Education

These children, teenagers, and families have fled ISIS activity. Klooster says it is crucial to welcome the forcibly displaced into new communities. Refugees need to be able to put down roots and contribute to a local society again.

“There’s a void there that ISIS often seeks to fill. And yes, our partners do witness kids who’ve experienced this level of trauma, and our partners are coming in with these schools, into these very urgent situations where without these schools and without the mentorship from these teachers, the kids are left with that void,” Klooster explains.

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Bethann Flynn