No child is safe from evil of the world

Published 11:24 pm Saturday, August 22, 2015

As the Islamic State continues to attract Westerners to its horrific cause, a report about the group’s use of sex slavery stands out as particularly shocking. What’s more troubling is that women have fled their homes to join its ranks.

The New York Times reported recently that three London teenage girls had traveled to territory controlled by ISIS. The Times described their decision as a result of “jihadi, girl-power subculture.”

An estimated 4,000 Westerners have traveled to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS, more than 550 of them women and girls. They’ve left their homes to become wives, mothers and recruiters for the terrorist group. And it’s not a phenomenon occurring only in metro areas or places with large Muslim populations. A young Mississippi couple was recently arrested in a Columbus airport after trying to join ISIS.

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The terrorist group relies on a medieval brand of violence that has shocked the modern world. Mass beheadings broadcast on the Internet are ISIS’s favorite propaganda tool. Christians are being slaughtered in Iraq and Syria much as they were in the Early Church period.

Women are treated like property — at best. The group has enshrined a theology of rape that seems incomprehensible today. So why would any woman from anywhere seek to join their cause?  It defies reason.

But people have often done unreasonable things in the name of faith.  Girls abandoning their families to join a terrorist group that seeks to own them is just the latest.

As a father, my heart aches for them and those they leave behind. They assuredly don’t understand the consequences of their actions. But ISIS recruiters have somehow tapped into a desperate need that is going unmet in the lives of these girls.

I have three daughters. Could it happen to them some day? I would dismiss the notion entirely if not for a Vicksburg honor student who applauded the group’s violence and sought to join them. She is the daughter of a Vicksburg police officer who would have never guessed his little angel could be manipulated into joining a terrorist group.

It shows us all that no child is safe from the evil of the world, no matter how much we try to protect them. It should also force all of us to examine the lives of our children. Are we filling them with the kind of love that shuns needless violence. Are we teaching them the Good News, or simply assuming they will know it because they attend church. Are we making sure there are no parts of their lives left vulnerable to the lies of a violent ideology?

If we are not, we can only blame ourselves when they are lost.

Luke Horton is the publisher of the Daily Leader.