(Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)Displaced Iraqis flee their homes, as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants, in western Mosul, Iraq March 2, 2017.
A vicar in Iraq has warned that Christians who have fled Mosul may not be able to return to the city because the Islamic State terror group has trained a new generation of child radicals.
Over 100,000 Christians have fled Mosul since ISIS took over the city in 2014. Some have attempted to return as the government forces continue the offensive against the terror group, but a vicar has warned that a huge danger remains in the city.
Father Daniel, whose church in Erbil cares for Christian families who fled their homes, said that terror group’s ideology has been passed on to the next generation, sparking fears that ISIS will continue its efforts to expel Christians out of the Middle East.
“We can go back but it is a question of safety. We are dealing with a new generation bred by ISIS – they have a radical anti-Christian viewpoint and so it would be really hard to go back,” he said, according to Express.
“It would be very hard for children here and children in Mosul to get together. Can they even get along together as two groups? Could they adapt to each other? We really need to work with the children in Mosul to change what ISIS has implanted there,” he added.
Children, known as the Caliphate Cubs, have appeared in several ISIS propaganda videos that featured executions.
Daniel, who works with Christian children who were traumatized by ISIS, said that education could be the only weapon against the terror group and its young supporters.
He noted that the older victims of ISIS are now working against the jihadis by serving as volunteers to help others who are coming to Erbil to escape the battle in Mosul. Some are working as translators for people who come from other organizations.
“They want to help their community and for their voice to be heard around the world,” the vicar said.
Daniel explained that Christians have feared being targeted long before ISIS, but it got much worse when the jihadis took over.
The priest, who was in Erbil when ISIS emerged, said his church was not prepared for the number of people who fled. The people initially stayed on the floor of the churches, but they were gradually provided with tents and cabins. He said that the church is now renting houses for the displaced people.
According to a report from the BBC, over 180,000 have fled Mosul in the past month. The U.N. has warned that 320,000 more civilians could flee the city in the coming