Children in Violent Extremist Organizations
Terrorist organizations, like ISIS, Hamas and the Taliban have exploited children for years. This seminar takes a closer look at the different ways in which these groups recruit and deploy children.
This seminar is arranged by the Consortium for Research on Terrorism and International Crime.
Terrorist organizations like ISIS, Hamas and the Taliban have exploited children for years for tactical reasons. For terrorist groups, “grooming the next generation” is a priority to safeguard the longevity of the movement. Children in conflict zones are especially vulnerable because recruitment might literally be coming ‘from the inside of the house’ -- members of their own family, and not strangers, who are brainwashing the youth to join a militant organization. This is a form of child exploitation and child abuse.
In some accounts, children in terrorist groups have been mischaracterized as a “lost generation” or as “ticking time bombs”. The reality is more complicated.
This seminar will review the different ways in which terrorist groups recruit and deploy children and address the lingering issue about whether these children should be repatriated now that ISIS has lost its territorial Caliphate.
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Mia Bloom is the International Security Fellow at the New America Foundation, a professor at Georgia State University, and member of the Evidence Based Cyber Security at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Bloom has conducted research in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia and speaks eight languages. Bloom has authored books on violent extremism including Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (Columbia 2005), Living Together After Ethnic Killing (Routledge 2007) Bombshell: Women and Terror (UPenn 2011) and Small Arms: Children and Terror (Cornell 2019). She is publishing two books later this year: Veiled Threats: Women and Jihad (Brookings in October) and Pastels and Pedophile: Inside the Mind of QAnon with Sophia Moskalenko (Stanford in June). Bloom is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has held appointments at Princeton, Cornell, Harvard and McGill Universities. She serves on the boards of the Anti Defamation League, GIFCT: Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, and the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED). Bloom has a PhD in political science from Columbia University, a Masters in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelors degree from McGill in Russian, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.
Elisabeth Harnes works at Resource Centre on Violence, Traumatic Stress and Suicide Prevention (RVTS Vest) and holds a position as a Special Consultant on Forced Migration and Refugee Health, Radicalization and Violent Extremism and Honor Related Violence. She is coordinating the center`s work on Radicalization and Violent Extremism and is a member of RVTS`s National Expert Group and TOT Radicalization- a interdisciplinary operative consulting team on radicalization in Bergen municipality. She also leads a National Mentor Training on Radicalization to Violent Extremism (RVTS Vest). Harnes has broad work experiences in social and therapeutic work from several countries. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies and a Bachelor in Intercultural Studies from NLA University College. She is also a licensed Family Therapist from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences with a specialization in Narrative Therapy from the Institute of Narrative Therapy Riverbank Psychology, Manchester, UK and advanced training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute (SPI).