Germany prepares for the return of a hundred IS fighters' children

Interior Ministry State Secretary Emily Haber warned on 8 January against the threat posed by the return of young children from Syria and Iraq. German security officials are expecting more than a hundred returning children, mostly infants and toddlers.

Since 2011, about 960 Islamists have left the country to fight alongside IS in the Middle East. The German government estimates around 150 of them have been killed, while 320 have already returned. The main challenge for German security services will be to prevent the radicalization of IS fighters’ young children who have been raised and emotionally affected in warzones. The aim is to avoid the emergence of a potentially new jihadists generation in Germany, as most Islamist attacks in the country were conducted by minors in 2016. German authorities are not allowed to investigate children under the age of 14, making the detection of potentially radicalized children difficult. However, with Germany's 2018 “national prevention program”, which was presented on 14 June 2017, and its €100 million dedicated to the prevention of Islamist radicalization, Germans appear ready to handle these special returns. The helpline "Hayat", established in 2011, is also recognized at the EU level as an effective preventive tool against radicalization.

About author: Martin Macq

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