ISIS Magazine Explains the Use of Child Executioners

European terror attacks
AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

The Islamic State addresses the issue of child executioners—young boys leading hostages to the slaughter, providing knives to the killers, and even portrayed as pulling the trigger in the odd gunshot execution—in the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq.

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Radio Free Europe got its hands on a copy of Dabiq and says the article about child executioners is titled “The Lions Of Tomorrow.” The number of examples cited by ISIS in the article shows how widespread the practice has become. Naturally, ISIS rejects the notion that these child killers are a sign of desperation from the Islamic State. Instead, they argue that one of their primary motivations for putting kids in their snuff films was to freak out civilized people.

“IS’s use of children to carry out execution-style killings led to outpourings of shock and disgust across Western and Arab media,” writes Radio Free Europe. “Dabiq referred to these reactions in its article, suggesting that IS militants had deliberately chosen to film the ‘child executioners’ in order to create this response.”

The use of child-killers is also defended by citing Islamic tradition and the life of Mohammed. “This was the Sunnah (Muslim way of life based on Muhammad’s teachings and the Koran) of Allah’s Messenger, who would allow those capable from among the young Sahabah (the Prophet Muhammad’s companions) to participate in his battles against the mushrikin (polytheists),” reads a passage from the Dabiq article, with parenthetical explanations inserted by Radio Free Europe.

Of course, there was no way ISIS could get through this article without nattering about the Crusades: “The Islamic State has taken upon itself to fulfill the Ummah’s (the global community of Muslims) duty toward this generation by preparing it to face the crusaders and their allies in defense of Islam… It has established institutes for these lion cubs to train and hone their military skills.”

The same issue includes an article justifying ISIS’s destruction of priceless historical artifacts by citing Islamic tradition, describing such artifacts as a form of idolatry, which “opposes the guidance of Allah and His Messenger and only serves a nationalist agenda.”

Also, there’s another Tokyo Rose-style piece from John Cantile, described as a “British hostage” by RFE, although there has been speculation that his participation might not be entirely involuntary. A few months ago, he filmed what he ominously described as his final propaganda video for ISIS, leading to speculation that he was about to be killed, but he is apparently still writing op-eds for Dabiq. On the other hand, there is no telling what duress he might be under, or if he is even the author of the Dabiq articles published in his name.

In this installment, Cantile claims the Western world is beginning to knuckle under to the Islamic State by accepting its legitimacy as a nation, and speculates that the United States will soon “swallow its pride” and become capable of “facing the Islamic State as a country,” perhaps even signing a truce with it. He also boasts of how “the black flag of the Caliphate [is] now seen on the skylines of Africa, Arabia, and Asia.”


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