This is why Isis uses children like the so-called 'Jihadi Junior' in their propaganda videos

The young boy in the Isis propaganda video is one of many child soldiers who are being trained to become the next generation of killers. And his presence sends a very powerful message

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The Independent Online

“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”

A phrase used by Hitler that defined his plan to build the Third Reich. That darkness has been defeated, but recent footage from Isis shows that children are still being controlled and manipulated in war zones.

Isis released a propaganda video featuring a child soldier appearing to say: “We will kill the kuffar [non-believers] over there”.

Children are shown in propaganda videos for calculated psychological value. It aims to arouse global fear through portraying to the world that it is a powerful and fully-functioning state, fuelling a multi-generational war.

In addition, the use of minors brings media attention to Isis, providing it with a platform to share its ideology. The videos are made in order to portray a utopian manifestation of the salafi-jihadist ideology.

Their use also secures the recruitment of further children. On-looking children watch previously-recruited children immersed in the ‘state’ and subsequently believe that what they witness is both publically condoned and a possible course of action for them too.

The future of any state lies in the young generation. In comparison to adults, children are more easily indoctrinated, faster to commit and demonstrate unreserved loyalty more swiftly in light of fewer preformed conceptions. Isis hopes to secure its future by indoctrinating the next generation with ideology from a young age. As a result, children will carry the vision from an early stage and are therefore more likely to deem the practices as normal, as it is all they have known.

It would be remiss to paint a picture that Isis solely utilises children in propaganda videos. Children are taught specific skills in Cubs of the Caliphate training camps and Isis curriculum schools, and are subsequently allocated specialised roles and stations.

Boys are trained in military skills, taught how to fight in combat on the front line, tutored in the manufacture of explosives, coached to become snipers, and instructed to spy and inform on those that do not conform to Isis practices. They are educated in the execution of suicide bombings and, in case of attack, are invariably forced to wear suicide vests whilst performing other roles. Furthermore, Cubs fulfil the role of executioners, ordered to kill those that do not comply with Isis. This was seen in an Isis video where children shot 25 regime soldiers in the head.

Girls are given a domestic education, in which they are instructed in how to fulfil the needs of their jihadi husbands, raise the next generation of jihadi fighters, and maintain a household.

Given the multiple roles that children perform, alongside their ready availability in most warzones, they are deemed crucial in the art of war and an exploitable resource of almost unlimited supply.

Isis is destroying the past, present and future in one; century-old historical artefacts are being obliterated, present day minorities are being wiped out, and the next generation is dispossessed of childhood and dropped headlong into a world of terror.