ISIS is recruiting and training child soldiers it proudly calls “Cubs of the Islamic State” [1].

The recruitment and use of children as soldiers is a war crime, though not without precedent. Children – often forcibly conscripted – have acted as soldiers in India, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Myanmar [2].

In Sierra Leone, boys between the ages of 7 and 14 served in the Small Boys Unit. Some 10,000 are thought to have taken part, in that nation’s civil war from 1991-2002 [3]. These children were involved in rape, mutilation, sexual slavery, murder, and other forms of human rights abuses.

Over 30,000 children have taken part in the decades long conflict in Uganda, a substantial number of these actually abducted [4]. Young girls are subject to sexual violence, or required to serve as “wives” of the rebels and have their children.

And now ISIS.

Boys are taught how to use AK-47s and mercilessly behead captives. An Iraqi security official was quoted by NBC News as saying, “They use dolls to teach them how to behead people, then they make them watch a beheading, and sometimes they force them to carry the heads in order to cast the fear away from their hearts.”

Some children are used by ISIS as suicide bombers; others, as human shields. They are, also, indoctrinated in Shariah law. “It’s being done for the same reasons that Hitler had the Hitler Youth,” stated Charlie Winter of the Quilliam Foundation.

Brainwashing these children is a long-term strategy to assure ISIS’ continued existence. “They have to get used to hearing the sounds of explosions and machine guns and missiles and artillery and aircraft,” Abu Dujana explained. “They should get used to seeing blood,” the ISIS fighter said.

Americans can expect to see more blood, as well.

[1] NBC News, “ISIS Trains Child Soldiers at Camps for ‘Cubs of the Islamic State’ ” by Cassandra Vinograd, Ghazi Balkiz and Ammar Cheikh Omar, 11/7/14,

[2] Child Soldiers International,

[3] Human Rights Watch, “Sierra Leone Rebels Forcefully Recruit Child Soldiers”, 6/1/00,

[4], Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About, “Uganda: Child Soldiers at Centre of Mounting Humanitarian Crisis”,


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Filed under Abuse of Power, Emotional Abuse, Law, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

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