Some young children in Britain are being indoctrinated to hate non-Muslims and champion a holy war, according to a new documentary.
“No child is ever too young to be started off on Jihad training,” states one document recovered by police from the North West’s Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) during raids.
CTU officers, interviewed by the BBC’s Inside Out team for a special programme, show the document and a film they recovered of two children aged about three and six playing with a pistol and Kalashnikov rifle.
The officers say the discoveries are evidence of attempts to radicalise youngsters. The footage, which police believe was filmed in Pakistan, was uncovered on the hard drive of a suspect’s computer–though investigators have not revealed when the material was seized.
The video shows a girl and young boy playing with guns, which police believe are real. “What do you do with the weapon?” asks a man’s voice. He answers his own question: “I want to kill the infidels.”
A senior CTU officer, who cannot be identified for security reasons, tells the programme makers: “We believe this was filmed abroad. We have no idea who the children are. We were shocked to find it at the house. We have no reason to believe this is faked. The guns are real.”
The officer said of another raid: “We found a series of flash cards and documents on how to raise Mujahid children. The cards were written in English–and instead of having M for Muhammad they had M for Mujahideen. They have the potential to indoctrinate. It just shows the mindset of some people and what we are up against.”
Police also found documents downloaded from an extremist website instructing parents to raise Mujahid children. The documents say: “The key is to start instilling these values in them while they are babies. Don’t wait until they are seven. No child is ever too young to be started off on Jihad training.”
David Thompson, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said the majority of the Muslim population supported the police’s counterterror operations in the region.
He told the BBC: “My view is that the majority of the community across the board see the threat that we’re dealing with and are hugely supportive.”
MP Kim Howells, chairman of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, said: “It’s a dreadful thing to see and I hope I never have to see it again actually. That’s as serious a piece of evidence of the kind of thing we are up against as I have ever set eyes on.”
Anjum Anwar MBE, who works for the church as a community dialogue development officer, said the film must not be used to implicate the rest of the Muslim world.