Refugee children targeted by Islamic terrorists for recruitment; New 'tent school' being set up to counter strategy

Islamic extremists are targeting kids in refugee camps, particularly those who are out of school, for recruitment; thus, there is an urgent need to counter the extremists' strategy, an organization said.

Tent Schools International, which provides Christ-centered education to about 175,000 kids worldwide, plans to set up a tent school for refugee kids in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

Children play on a slide as a rainbow forms overhead at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, May 22, 2016. | Reuters

Dale Dieleman, vice president of Tent Schools International, explained that kids in refugee camps sometimes do not have access to the schools in their host countries because the policies change often.

With limited access to schools, kids become vulnerable targets for recruitment by Islamic extremists. Other factors, like limited food aid, make young people easier to recruit.

In Germany, for example, thousands of Salafi Jihadists roam the country with the purpose of enticing asylum seekers, especially children, to join their group.

"We are very concerned Islamists in Germany are trying, under the cover of humanitarian assistance, to exploit the situation of the refugees for their own ends and to proselytise and recruit among asylum-seekers," said Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, according to Express.

Dieleman said the chances of kids, especially those below 15 years old, being radicalized can be lessened by giving them an opportunity to study and instilling in them a sense of hope. This is why they are going to set up a tent school in Lebanon in time for the September school year opening.

"We want to help children continue their education, but also in so doing, try to mitigate against or significantly reduce the opportunities for kids to be recruited into these terrorist groups," Dieleman said, according to Mission Network News.

The organization will also train the students on basic computer skills not only to help with their studies but also to give them better chances of getting a job in the future.

Dieleman said the schools they set up are geared toward introducing the students to the gospel. The students, who are taught by Christian teachers, get exposed to the word of God through Bible stories incorporated into the lessons.

"The bottom line is that kids are being exposed to the Christian faith, to the life of Jesus," he said.