Friday, April 3, 2015

Islamic State Promotional Magazine Baits 'Infidels' by Highlighting Child Executioners

    Friday, April 03, 2015   No comments

By Samuel Oakford
The radical Sunni insurgent group that has branded itself the Islamic State (IS) takes its propaganda efforts very seriously, so much so that it publishes a sleek, full-color, English-language digital magazine called Dabiq — the latest issue of which highlights killings committed by two of its so-called "lion cub" child soldiers.

The eighth issue of the publication emerged on social media earlier this week, and is notable for including a two-page spread about boys that IS had previously depicted killing prisoners on video, along with an interpretation of Islamic scripture that it claims justifies its use of children as executioners.


One of the boys included in the spread was shown in a video released in January in which he appeared to shoot two accused Russian spies in the head. He closely resembles a child who appeared in an IS video last November as one of a number of purported Kazakh nationals whom militants filmed as they underwent military training.

The other boy was shown in a video released in March that depicted him killing a Palestinian man who was accused of spying for Israel's intelligence agency Mossad.

Both kids look to be no more than 12 or 13 years old.

"These are the children of the Ummah of jihad, a generation raised in the lands of malahim (fierce battles) and nurtured under the shade of Shari'ah, just a stone's throw from the frontlines," says the text accompanying photographs of the boys. "The Islamic State has taken it upon itself to fulfill the Ummah's duty towards this generation in preparing it to face the crusaders and their allies in defense of Islam and to raise high the word of Allah in every land. It has established institutes for these ashbal (lion cubs) to train and hone their military skills, and to teach them the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger."
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The use of the boys to carry out terror killings drew widespread condemnation — a reaction that IS says it predicted and sought out.

"As expected, the kuffar (infidels) were up in arms about the Khalifah's use of 'child soldiers,' " the text says.

IS claims that its use of child soldiers — a war crime under international law — is allowable because it was depicted in the Sunnah, a text that describes the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The magazine says that the Prophet "would allow those capable from amongst the young Sahabah to participate in his battles against the mushrikin. It was two young boys from the Ansar who struck down Abu Jahl in the battle of Badr."

Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame, told VICE News that while the insurgent group's reading is rooted in the realities of 7th Century Arabia, there is little question among scholars that such interpretations have been modified in the centuries since.

He also noted that the children depicted by IS — which is also known as ISIS, ISIL, and by its Arabic acronym Daesh — appear to be much younger than the adolescents that on occasion fought during the early years of Islam's expansion.

"Islamic history does record instances of youth fighting in the wars waged by the Prophet Muhammad against his adversaries," Moosa said. "But we know for certain that these fighters were not children."

"One of the requirements for a fighter or soldier is that such a conscript must reach the age of moral majority, put around 15 to 17, depending on when a male youth reaches puberty," he added. "For all ethical and legal purposes, such as marriage and conscription, contemporary Muslim orthodox jurists and scholars have adjusted those ages to what is acceptable and morally justifiable in our time. They have increased the threshold age."

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