Small Wars Journal

Students in Syria a Textbook Case for Post-Islamic State Reeducation

Students in Syria a Textbook Case for Post-Islamic State Reeducation by Nabih Bulos – Los Angeles Times

There's a saying in Arabic: Learning while young is like carving in stone. (It rhymes in the original.)

 

The saying has come to the fore as authorities begin efforts to reeducate about 25,000 school-age children being held in Al Hol, the desolate internment camp on the edge of eastern Syria for members of Islamic State’s so-called caliphate and refugees from the communities the militant group controlled in Syria and Iraq.

 

With the radical group having lost the last of the land it controlled after nearly five years of warfare, authorities now face the challenge of reeducating the children of the militant fighters, most of them schooled from an early age in Islamic State’s barbaric ways.

 

Over those years, the children were taught with textbooks that glorified the group’s fighters and their “conquests,” trained to use small firearms and grenades and provided intense religious studies based on extremist interpretations of Sunni Islam. Educators must now figure out how to get through to youngsters who were systematically radicalized and militarized in all the territories held by Islamic State, which, at its zenith, controlled a full third of Syria and Iraq each.

 

Moreover, these children represent a minuscule — though probably the most troublesome — portion of what have been referred to as “Syria’s lost generation”: the millions of schoolchildren who have lost out on some or all of their formal education during the nation’s eight-year civil war…

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