By Robbie Gramer
[interview with Minerva-funded researcher Mia Bloom]
Every child left behind? The Islamic State has set up education programs to groom the next generation of fighters. And they don’t just cover your standard jihadi topics, but also the more banal subjects like math, grammar and the English language. The Islamic State’s built schools, created textbooks, and even developed phone apps, to “educate” children, shedding light on a surreal aspect of the terrorist organization’s reach and strategy.
Here’s an app the Islamic State purportedly developed to teach children things like the alphabet… and tanks and guns....
Experts say there is a tactical purpose behind the pedagogy. “There’s a need to physically and mentally prepare children to be the ‘next generation’” of fighters, said Mia Bloom, terrorism expert at Georgia State University told Foreign Policy. “It exposes the children to violence in a routine and daily fashion so it ceases to be shocking and normalizes violence,” she said.
Bloom and others at the Georgia State University Minerva research project on children and extremism track these apps, textbooks, and other macabre Islamic State learning tools. She told FP her team already found 35 Islamic State textbooks easily downloadable and ready to use in the dark corners of the Internet. Some are even in English. Whatever they find, they send to U.S. law enforcement and defense officials.