More on ISIL

The jihadists of today are not the first terrorist group to put down roots in Belgium. In the past decades Action Directe, the Red Army Faction, the ETA, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and notorious Turkish terrorist organizations the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had offices in Belgium. The last two still do.

Police raids in Brussels and Verviers this year unearthed an organization of Belgian citizens who went to and returned from Syria ready to launch attacks in Belgium.

Belgium has a relatively high number of refugees and settlers from the Middle East who travel to problem spots to fight alongside jihadists. Reports reveal approximately 250 Belgians have joined battles in Iraq and Syria and 125 have returned while about 75 died pursuing the jihadi cause.

Belgium abounds with terrorist cells for several practical reasons. It is a small Schengen country. One can reach neighboring countries in two hours without the hindrance of international travel rights or immigrations controls.

It is a liberal democracy where popular organizations are not scrutinized much until they prove to be dangerous to public safety and social order. Another reason is the relative ease of obtaining firearms in Belgium.

The jihadi cause and its organization among Muslim citizens of EU countries is a new phenomenon. Many countries, including Belgium, are not sufficiently equipped to understand, track and deal with these extremist groups. Most of the time police action is after the fact rather than being proactive and preventive. But the gap is rapidly closing.

Refugee youth of Muslim background still feel alienated from their host countries’ culture and find it difficult to adapt due to the resistance of their traditional families as well as the difficulties of being part of society at large. Discrimination, unemployment, insufficient education, etc. breed bitter feelings against the host country. This occurs in almost every Western country. A minority group becomes radicalized and turns to violence in response.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is not only recruiting youth in the West but also in Muslim countries as well. Nowadays the organization is recruiting children under the age of 16. Most of these children are employed in logistical services assisting seasoned fighters. They carry ammunition, help prepare meals and do cleaning. Some stand watch and carry messages.

ISIL exploits the poverty of local families in Syria. It offers families between $250 and $350 per month for every child. Over time ISIL brainwashes these children to become fighters and suicide bombers in defense of Islam. Children are told the survival of Islam depends on the destruction of the enemies of religion. The West is Satan, so too are those Muslims who do not adhere to the ISIL way. The radicalization of the children is accompanied by prizes and financial rewards.

A well-planned propaganda scheme is put into work. Posters, message boards, video clips of military victories as well as lectures on the Shariah, and religious anthems affect children.

The children indoctrinated by ISIL are called “caliphate cubs.” They first undergo Shariah education fashioned along the ISIL ideology of life and religion. In the Shariah camps, where children are indoctrinated, they are encouraged to swear fealty to Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of Islam.

Following religious and political education, the youth are transferred to barracks where they are trained as fighters for the cause. The emphasis of their training is the need for combat in order to establish an Islamic state for Islam to prevail against the West and to regain its past glory.

In the Shariah camps children train in weaponry and combat methods. They are isolated from their families and stripped of all human values they have learned in their social environment. They become executioners and live bombs. The “caliphate cubs” will pose a long-lasting threat to humanity even after ISIL is dismantled. Let us not forget: Ideas and ideals, no matter how perverted, live longer than those who harbor them.