Members of the Islamic State in Syria have started two English schools in hope to attract English speaking recruits and cater to their families.
The schools have reportedly been open in Raqqa, Syria, which is the claimed capital of the Islamic State. According to John Hall of the Daily Mail, one school is for boys and the other for girls, and the majority of lessons will be taught in English.
The establishment of schools are just the latest attempt of the Islamic State (aka ISIS) to legitimize themselves as an independent and sovereign state that provides government services, such as education.
“Last summer the terror group declared the territory a so-called caliphate and said it as the duty of all Muslims around the world to live under the regime. Since then tens of thousands of foreigners have done just that, with English becoming a lingua franca [adopted common language] among the militants and their families.”
The plan to open the English speaking schools was exposed by an activist, Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, within Raqqa whose group, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, is working undercover to expose atrocities being done by the Islamic State. A flier for the schools was uploaded on Twitter.
The flier, which is mostly in English, states that “by the grace of Allah we have opened schools for English speaking children” The flier also states that the schools are in need of part time and full time teachers.
The schools are to be taught to children from ages 6 to 14 for 3 hours a day. The only courses taught in Arabic are Quran and Arabic language.
Having an English school will help keep English speaking residents from leaving Islamic State territories who have concerns over their children’s education, and help raise “a generation of bilingual young men to continue the ISIS reign of terror for years to come.”
Alarabiya reports that in late 2014 a monitoring group was told that the Islamic State “had begun to implement their own ‘Islamic curriculum’” for children and students within Raqqa’s borders.
The education system in Syria, specifically in the areas controlled by the Islamic State, has been decimated by conflict and that schools in Raqqa have only just reopened this past month. Many parents believe that their children will just be “brainwashed” and the children are kept home, reports Adam Withnall of the Independent.
Before returning to the schools, teachers were made to “denounce themselves for using ‘infidel’ textbooks in the past.” Raqqawi said in an account to The Observer. “No one is happy about the new Isis ones they have been given” he added.
This isn’t the first time that children have been schooled by the Islamic State terror group. As reported by Newsweek last October, a video shows children age “around 10 years old” being trained for combat.
This illumination of the new schools within the Islamic State comes just after the news that three “straight A” young girls from London fled to Turkey and are feared to have intentions to join the Islamic State.