Children & Religious Extremism

Religious extremism and religious motivated violence are repugnant to most people, atheist and religious alike.  Most religious people see violence to advance a religious cause as a perversion of their faith and beliefs.

We can become numb to seeing adults preaching this viewpoint, but what if it is a child who is preaching and promoting these violent acts on national television?

The clip below shows a boy who looks between 10-12 on Egyptian television preaching about children’s love of martyrdom whilst his proud father looks on.

The story the boy preaches is about a young boy who wants to join the men in going to Jihad to fight.  The Commander tells the boy that he can come as long as Allah decrees that the boy is to be martyred.  What the fuck?? When is it ever okay for a child to be martyred for a religious cause?

What is even worse, this boy tells the Commander that his father was martyred last year and his uncle the year before that and this year his mother had told him it was his turned to be martyred.  This stuff truly breaks my heart.  Children should be protected and sheltered against violence, they should not be sent out to fight and die.

The story ends with the boy being killed during a battle with Byzantine soldiers and the Commander taking his blood stained shirt back to his mother.  The mother rejoices at the news that her son has died and that her daughter drops dead whilst hearing the news of her brother’s death.

There is an epilogue to this sad tale, just when you think it can’t get any worse.  When the Commander is burying the boy, the boy’s corpse keeps popping out of the ground.  In the end they give up trying to give the kid a decent burial saying it’s Allah’s will that the child not be buried.

Now, before you go off believing it is only Islam that preaches violent tales of children dying for religious causes, the Christian Bible and Jewish Torah are also full of tales of violence towards children and children fighting and dying for religious causes.

Hearing tales of children dying in the name of religion breaks my heart.  Seeing a child preaching about how wonderful it is for kids to martyred on national TV makes me extremely angry.  It is not okay and it is never going to be okay for children to be sent to die for any cause, religious or otherwise.

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4 responses to “Children & Religious Extremism

  1. What are the Bible stories you’re referring to? Offhand, I can’t think of any children who died violently in the Bible. There were many who fought, but I would think that was more for cultural reasons than religious ones?

  2. Aha – misinterpretation of your words on my part! I don’t consider any of the situations in those passages “religious causes” as such. They mention prophecies and punishments, but not the martyrdom you spoke of earlier in your post – I thought that’s the kind of Bible stories you meant and couldn’t recall ever reading anything like that.

  3. While I normally don’t comment on anything to do three subjects, one of them being religion, I feel that I have to say something here.

    Whatever a person’s beliefs, it can be commonly agreed that the bible and many other religious books were written a long time ago.

    What concerns me, as highlighted in your post by the video, is that this is still happening right now in this very world at this present time.

    I wonder if there are any other religions, sects, etc currently practising this at the present time too?