The Killer Children of the Islamic State

The following interview with an alleged former emir of the Islamic State was published in Sweden. If Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi really did repudiate ISIS, it’s presumably because he realized that the Caliphate was about to go down in flames, and wanted to save his own skin.

Many thanks to Tania Groth for translating this article from the Swedish daily Expressen:

ISIS saves its children’s army for war against the West

A group of children, dressed in camouflage outfits, stand with knives in their hands ready to cut the neck of their victims. The victims are adult men forced to kneel. They are murdered to the sound of the children’s cries:

“Allahu Akhbar! Allahu Akhbar!”

There are a plethora of these horrible movies on the internet, posted by ISIS propaganda centers.

But, for the first time since the Islamic State was founded in the summer of 2014, a high-ranking emir now reveals details of the IS children’s army.

“They are called Ashbal al-Khilafa. Most are children of Syrians, but there are also foreign members,” says Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi.


In ISIS-controlled areas, all schools have been closed. Parents living there have two options to choose for their sons: Koran studies in the mosque or Ashbal al-Khilafa.

Ordinary Muslims who go to schools do not need to be members of the Islamic State. There they learn about Islam based on ISIS’ interpretation. Or they can choose Ashbal al-Khilafa camp. It is voluntary, says al-Raqqawi.

Those who go to Koran studies do it for a few hours every day. It works just like the Koran schools during the Taliban era in Afghanistan and Pakistan. You do not have to stay in camps to attend the courses.

But Ashbal al-Khilafa is something completely different.

“In Raqqa alone were built at least 15 training camps for Ashbal al-Khilafa. In each city and in every village and community that ISIS controls, such camps are established. Each camp receives between 600-800 children. There they live for six months — completely isolated from the outside world and from their parents. They are being prepared to become future soldiers — not to participate in the fighting now, but as a reserve army,” al-Raqqawi says.

The training consists of practical and theoretical parts. ISIS films circulating on the sect’s propaganda channel Amaq show how a small group of child soldiers are searching through a “bombing house” for their victims. The victims are kidnapped people who have to hide in the house for the children to find and kill. It is part of the children’s education.

“The most dangerous ones are the children who are taught to perform secret assignments.”

[Photo caption (at the top of this post): According to Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi, ISIS saves its children’s army for future war missions against the West. The pictures are from one of the ISIS propaganda films.

“These children are not used in the war now. A few are selected as suicide bombers, but the rest are saved for the coming war against the West. They are more brutal than the adult members. Several of them volunteer to participate in battles, but they cannot, they say,” al-Raqqawi

The boys’ ages vary between nine and fourteen years. But ISIS makes exceptions for those younger than nine years — if they look older. During the training period the children are divided into different groups. There are those who become suicide candidates or ordinary combatants.

“The most dangerous ones are the children who are taught to perform secret assignments. They learn how the intelligence service works and how to blend into different societies. Those are the ones that will be sent out to the world as dormant cells,” al-Raqqawi says.

[Photo caption (not shown): During the six-month training camps, the children are forced to be completely cut off from their families and schooled in terror, murder and propaganda.]

According to al-Raqqawi, there were four loyal ISIS cooks who cooked the food that was distributed to all camps in Raqqa. Two of the cooks were foreigners and two were Syrians. Only a few selected were allowed to enter the kitchen where the food was cooked. al-Raqqawi often visited the kitchen to make lists of what was needed.

There he discovered that the cooks mixed a powder from small bags into the food and into the drinking water. Al-Raqqawi had himself participated in various training camps and there heard of the powder that is mixed in the food to make recruits brutal. Now he saw it with his own eyes, even though he does not yet know what the powder contained.

“That’s how they get suicide bombers to volunteer during training camps,” says al-Raqqawi.

“You eat and go to the sharia lecture taught by Abu Mossaab al-Farancy. When Abu Mossaab tells you that your sisters are imprisoned with unbelievers and it is your duty to fight them, you feel motivated to go to war immediately. Or to become a martyr.”

Abu Mossaab al-Farancy is an Arabic-speaking Frenchman who is responsible for all training camps.

“Anyone who is married and will be a martyr will choose who his wife will marry when he dies.”

Fighting martyrs are a different mode of war than suicide bombers. The warrior is equipped with weapons, hand grenades and explosives, and is sent in behind enemy lines. He usually fights until he dies.

The powder is mixed in the food and drinking water in small amounts so that the taste cannot be detected, according to al-Raqqawi.

“After a time in training camps, you feel strong and motivated to go out in battle. No one needs to ask you if you want to fight. You on your own and say ‘Sheikh Abu Mossaab, give me the car to attack the infidels.’ It is thanks to the powder and the tablets that suicide bombers eat just before they make their attacks,” al-Raqqawi says.

[Photo caption: Now and then. Abou Abboud al-Raqqawi was previously a high police officer in ISIS’ religious police. Now he is fleeing with his four wives and their children.]

Do they get it all the time, or just on the odd occasion?

“No, no. This is mixed in the food and in the drinking water. But they make sure nobody detects it.”

Each candidate for martyrdom donates everything he owns to his friends and relatives before the mission.

“The one who is married and will become a martyr chooses who his wife will marry when he dies. It is a way to feel confident that she will follow in his footsteps,” al-Raqqawi says.

One month before you carry out your suicide mission you have to go home and rest yourself. You don’t have to do anything during this month. All wishes are fulfilled in order to go “debt-free” to “heaven”.

First, he is prepared with faith and the ethos of the battle. He gets help with everything he needs. All his wishes are realized. Car, money, clothes. All his debts are paid off. No matter how big the debts are. They say that whoever is on his way to martyrdom must go without debt.

“He laughed as if he were not heading for death.”

What is the benefit of getting car and money when killing yourself?

“No, you don’t take it with you in death, but you donate everything to your friends and siblings. You are absolutely convinced that you are going to paradise.”

Al-Raqqawi says he has had many friends who chose to become suicide bombers. He said farewell to some of them before they left in cars fully loaded with explosives.

They all behaved “normally”, according to al-Raqqawi. He tells about one of them:

“He laughed as if he were not heading for death.”

You were emir in the Islamic State, but now you say they’re not real Muslims.

“Yes, they are not Muslims.”

But did you contribute to the founding of ISIS and help them?

“That’s right. I joined ISIS and stayed with them for some time, but there was no way for me to resist them when they were wrong. It would be enough that only one person testified against me that I said something negative about ISIS, and I would have been slaughtered.

Al-Raqqawi claims he did not participate in executions and did not kill anyone.

Fact box (in black)

Facts: Abu Abboud Al-Raqqawi Was High Chief in the Religious Police

Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi was the ISIS officer in Raqqa in Syria.

He voluntarily joined the Islamic State after Raqqa was conquered and proclaimed the terrorist capital three years ago.

He held several senior positions in the al-Hisbah religious police in Raqqa. Among other things he was emir in the ISIS logistics committee and for a unit within the migration police. He states that he had over 50 men under his command.

Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi claims that even though he was an ISIS officer, he was not responsible for executions and torture. In the interview, however, he confirms that he was involved in executions as part of the training in sharia camps.

Today he has moved away from Raqqa and lives elsewhere with his four wives.

Abu Abboud al-Raqqawi is in fact a fake name, but he has permitted Expressen to publish photos of him in connection with the interview.

16 thoughts on “The Killer Children of the Islamic State

  1. The use of children to murder, execute and torture demonstrates the utter moral depravity of this organization. The videos posted online showing coached children performing barbaric acts are deeply disturbing, the more so because of the high production values of the material ISIS produces. Pure evil in action.

  2. Like everything else about Islam, this vignette is strewn with cue cards that warn: “UNHAPPY ENDING”.

    It’s difficult to imagine what other outcome is anticipated when Muslims tell their blood enemies, “You’d better start killing our children, too.”

    Is there any group left on Earth that still has such a motto?

  3. This is reminiscent of Nazi Germany who near the end of WWII placed child soldiers on the front lines. They were running out of soldiers so the crazy tyrant had to keep the battle going somehow. For this Islamic sect to keep moving forward, it looks like they are following the Nazi policy. Islam is pure evil. A people cannot last long when they sacrifice their future in current battles.

    • A people cannot last long when they sacrifice their future in current battles.

      Islam doesn’t cherish its infants/children. They are produced to be used, whether for sexual purposes or employed as armed missiles.

      • But here’s a question I have regarding your comment Dymphna. It’s the reverse of an all-too-common question these anecdotes inspire, usually something like ‘how could a culture emerge which views its children so cavalierly?’ Rather we could ask, how did a culture EVER evolve that thought of its children otherwise?

        • Are you asking how a culture evolved to see its children as gifts from God, perhaps? Judaeo-Christian culture and writings are definitely two such cultures which value children, but hardly the only ones we see. Even those cultures valuing male children over females are still hoping (by such preferences) to save themselves on a family level.

          To take a categorical difference, plants under stress will often prematurely go to seed in an effort to save its future generations.

          Iran is an example of an Islamic culture which has fallen below replacement population levels. No doubt the ayatollahs are worried. I doubt they use their children (anymore) as field artillery. They did in the Iran-Iraq war.

          • As Golda Meir said, there will be no peace until the Palestinians love their children as we do ours.

      • They are produced to be used, whether for sexual purposes or employed as armed missiles.

        All of which rather deftly explains the “damaged goods” symptomatology—be it genetic (consanguineous marriage), physical (birth defects, no vaccinations), sexual (rape culture, FGM, and rampant child abuse), intellectual (enforced female illiteracy, madrassas) or spiritual (doctrinal genocide, institutionalized misogyny, single-use soldiers)—presented by so much of Islamic youth worldwide.

    • No, this reasoning is completely false. Germany only used teenage boys as soldiers because by the end of the war they were severely lacking the experienced soldiers they had at the beginning. And while there were prominent officer schools for promissing youths, there was never a plan to use them in ways stated above. Neither were those children, those were teenage boys, nearly young men, they were allowed to be in contact with their families. Neither was there ever a plan to have those students infiltrate the Allies and destroy them from within – hate to break it to you, but Captain America isn’t very factual.
      To compare that to what the islamists are doing in Syria or have been doing in African countries like Somalia for decades shows a terrible lack of understanding of the topic.
      And, by the way, non-white races have a VERY different relationship to children than white people do, you would be better off reading up on that topic and realizing that fact, because this “others think the same as I do” mentality is precisely what brought this whole mess to the West.

  4. When my daughter was 12 years old she had a classmate, a boy from Egypt, who had been reprimanded by the female teacher. He then declared: “I am Egyptian, it is my right to take revenge on you.”

    • … a boy … reprimanded by the female teacher … declared: “I am Egyptian, it is my right to take revenge on you.”

      Perhaps that teacher’s own revenge was spelled with the letter “F”.

      Gentle readers are invited to imagine this alphabetic symbol standing alone, starting an oath, delivering a riposte, or merely partaking in colorfully explicit genealogical speculation.

  5. As much as sad this story is to read because includes children, it really isn’t something new in Islam. Back in the day when Muslims had upper hand and almost came to Gates of Vienna they used Janissaries( literal translation from Croatian is something about taking baby lambs from their cribs). Janissaries were taken by Ottomans from their parents as babies and trained in Turkey to be elite shock troops. It was not uncommon for those kids to return as grown men years later and ransack village they were born or even killing their own folk not knowing who they were before “reprogramming”.

    And as added bonus Turks raised those kids to be biggest and baddest extremists in whole army. Up until quite recently people in some parts of the Balkans still had habit of tattooing little sign of recognition on their babies hands as a custom and reminder of that type of “enrichment” from those times. To see them using their own in the same way today is not a surprise to anyone who knows basic tenets of Islam. In Islam every Muslim (even a small one) is a slave of Allah, and we all know what Allah prescribes through his kid-friendly prophet Mohammed(Aysha) – never-ending Jihad. And that Jihad is sure hungry for bodies, no matter how big they are or to who they belong to.

    Funny thing is nobody in Balkans is asking for reparations or apologies from modern Turkish state as we see it with attempts in some other parts of the world and cultures who insist on daily basis on “white guilt” and using enslavement of their ancestors as a reason for their every shortcoming today.

    • I don’t think they took babies. They stole older children, toilet-trained and ready to be indoctrinated. Here is an informative wiki:

      According to military historian Michael Antonucci and economic historians Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane, the Turkish administrators would scour their regions (but especially the Balkans) every five years for the strongest sons of the sultan’s Christian subjects. These boys (usually between the ages of 6 and 14) were then taken from their parents and given to Turkish families in the provinces to learn Turkish language and customs, and the rules of Islam. The recruits were indoctrinated into Islam, forced into circumcision and supervised 24 hours a day by eunuchs. They were subjected to severe discipline, being prohibited from growing a beard, taking up a skill other than soldiering, and marrying. As a result, the Janissaries were extremely well-disciplined troops, and became members of the askeri class, the first-class citizens or military class. Most were non-Muslims, because it was not permissible to enslave a Muslim.[10]

      The wiki entry has an excellent resource section.

      Notice Jews were excluded. I have often wondered if this fed into the envy/hatred of the Jews in that area of the world. It’s hard to imagine the grief and lamentations parents would have felt losing their cherished sons.

      • Nah, Jews were never hated because of that. Up to 1940 and beginning of German occupation they were like everyone else. Many were lost and taken to concentration camps, and in the same time many were saved by locals and local church. Interesting thing is many of them found sanctuary in the Balkans after expulsion from Spain, and even more interesting many found sanctuary in Ottoman Empire . I guess Sultan never cared as long it was good business and jizya was paid regularly.

  6. Kadyrov with pomp takes out the little jackals of the Caliphate. Aircraft at public expense.
    Red Chechen greeted as a hero

    A tearful story was composed.

    Today, on March 7, Khadis Ibrahimov, a boy, will fly to Grozny airport – in infancy, with his mother, taken by his father to ISIS *, and then taken from his mother. For several years, a resident of Dagestan, Nuryan Ibrahimov, was looking for a child until he was found in Al-Khol camp.

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