Children who have been brutalized during stays in IS-controlled areas in Syria can pose a terrorist threat when they return home to Europe, according to a British expert.
It is the British lawyer Jonathan Hall, who has analyzed terrorist threats against Britain, who makes the claim in a report to Parliament, writes the Danish newspaper Berlingske.
In the report, Hall writes that the question of whether national security is endangered by returned children is not unequivocal, but that it cannot be “ruled out that a child may possibly be involved in violence as a result of his experiences abroad”.
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The Home Office in London states that it is “likely that the children have been influenced by extremist ideology and have received military training”.
The question of whether children can pose a terrorist threat is relevant in Denmark in connection with discussions about the government bringing home 19 Danish children who have spent three years in camps in northeastern Syria. Most of them are under ten years old.
The Danish Center for Terror Analysis (CTA), which is subject to the Police Intelligence Service (PET), does not share Hall’s fears and refers to «the children’s current low age».
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In a report presented on Wednesday, however, the CTA considers that “older children arriving in Denmark from the conflict zone or from camps may pose a terrorist threat due to indoctrination or other influence in the conflict zone”.
– Does not make sense
The Danish de-radicalization expert Kasper Fisker believes that Hall’s analysis has been simplified and provides dangerous conclusions. It does not make sense to talk about radicalization of young children, Fisker believes.
– It only makes sense to talk about radicalization of children when they reach the age of 13-14, Fisker says to Berlingske.
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– Young children can respond well to something that is expected of them. For example, by being programmed to shout that “God is great.” But we are not talking about radicalization. It is something you take on to survive, says Fisker.
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