The Dangerous Ideologies To Which Our Children Are Exposed

Al-Rai, Jordan, June 16

When I look at our younger generation, here, in Jordan, I cannot help but feel as if it has been robbed of its innocence. This is a generation that has come of age during a period of heightened terror—an era in which radical ideologies have plagued our societies and consumed our daily lives. We live in a world where suicide bombers are glorified, religious fanaticism is normalized, and there is no telling good from evil. Therefore, it is important today, more than ever before, to remind our children just how devastating the outcomes of radical ideologies can be. While fanaticism might seem like a sensible solution to their frustrations in the short-term, our children must understand the havoc that these beliefs have wrought upon our region over the long-term. We must educate our children in school about what is happening in places like Syria and Yemen, where millions of citizens have been forced to flee their homes while thousands of others lost their lives in brutal attacks. We must talk about the refugee camps that have popped up throughout the European continent, barely giving shelter to the millions of destitute Arabs who have lost everything. We ought to expose younger generations to the unspeakable testimonies of those who survived captivity at the hands of terror groups, so that they understand these terrifying experiences. Simply put, we must explain to our children that violence is a perilous tool; nothing more than a dangerous illusion that will end up backfiring on those who employ it. The biggest threat to our society is misunderstanding the temptations that lure our children to act in such ways. Instead of pretending that they don’t exist, we must bring these ideologies to the fore where they can be addressed and defeated. Otherwise, we will face a generation of mutinous citizens that refuse to accept the legitimacy of their states. –Sawsan al-Shaar 

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