I was not fortunate enough to attend the March parliamentary launch of the Quilliam Foundation’s report on the Children of Islamic State, but welcome the attention drawn to this horrifying situation by both the report itself and your good magazine.
It is almost impossible to contemplate the level of psychological harm inflicted on these young people and the dangers they pose to the world outside the ‘caliphate’, from which they have been completely cut off in order to retain a level of so-called ‘purity’ that makes a mockery of the word.
We in the West have long worried that our children are at risk of being desensitised to violence by computer games and explicit films. But this is thrown into stark perspective when we think about the ‘education’ given to male children by the so-called Islamic State, which includes how to use weapons, behead and shoot prisoners and nothing at all about the world around them.
This is a truly terrifying scenario that puts children in the position of being both victims and perpetrators of atrocities, and is creating a generation of deeply damaged human beings with limited capacity to think. One can only hope that, for those returning to the West, re-education and re-integration will be enough.
The Lady’s only human
To the Editor
How intriguing to read the review of Peter Popham’s new book The Lady and the Generals: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom, especially in light of all the recent to-do over Suu Kyi’s apparent comment about BBC Radio 4’s Mishal Husain.
Popham claims the disgruntled ‘Lady’ complained ‘No one told me that I was to be interviewed by a Muslim’ after Husain asked her to condemn the persecution of Burma’s Rohingya Muslims.
Firstly, it is unclear whether the source was entirely reliable.
Secondly, if it is, it’s not that astonishing, since the book and review paint a picture of a Suu Kyi who does not necessarily tally with the global image of her as an elegant icon, passionate about justice: in many ways ‘strikingly ordinary’, for a long while apolitical and, frankly, a bit of a control freak.
Thirdly, sad as it is that the Rohingya are mistreated in Burma, they are not alone; many religious and ethnic minorities have been treated badly, including Christians, the Shan and Kachin people.
Lastly – dare I say it? – Aung San Suu Kyi is a politician, a flesh-and-blood person and hence subject to fence-sitting and prevarication.
Modi’s smart move west
Thank you to your esteemed journalist Mr G Parthasarathy for very enlightening article about Prime Minister Modi taking India’s foreign policy westwards, especially into the Arab Gulf region.
Some will say Prime Minister Modi is unlikely leader to build up India’s relationship with the Middle East because of being a Hindu nationalist, and the Chief Minister of Gujarat when there were very bad anti-Muslim riots.
But many Indians (and I am including myself) believe Prime Minister Modi could change our policy towards the Middle East for much better. As Mr Parthasarathy writes, ‘in the emerging global scenario’, India and her Arab Gulf neighbours ‘have to strengthen and expand cooperation’. This area of the world is becoming strategically more important for India than ever before, especially now there is some decline in American interest so that other blossoming powerful countries can step in.
India should take an advantage of this situation, as the Middle East is important for India to export labour and help reduce poverty. We have a very good image in the world and we should use it.
Dr Sanjay Lal