J Is For Jihad: How The Islamic State Indoctrinates Children With Math, Grammar, Tanks, and Guns

Every child left behind? The Islamic State has set up education programs to groom the next generation of fighters. And they don’t just cover your standard jihadi topics, but also the more banal subjects like math, grammar and the English language. The Islamic State’s built schools, created textbooks, and even developed phone apps, to “educate” children, shedding light on a surreal aspect of the terrorist organization’s reach and strategy. Here’s an app the Islamic State purportedly developed to teach children things like the alphabet… and tanks and guns.

From the Islamic State’s mobile child education app: “B is for Bunduqiyya (gun)”

“S is for sayf (sword)”

“D is for Dababa (tank)”

Experts say there is a tactical purpose behind the pedagogy. “There’s a need to physically and mentally prepare children to be the ‘next generation’” of fighters, said Mia Bloom, terrorism expert at Georgia State University told Foreign Policy. “It exposes the children to violence in a routine and daily fashion so it ceases to be shocking and normalizes violence,” she said. Bloom and others at the Georgia State University Minerva research project on children and extremism track these apps, textbooks, and other macabre Islamic State learning tools. She told FP her team already found 35 Islamic State textbooks easily downloadable and ready to use in the dark corners of the Internet. Some are even in English. Whatever they find, they send to U.S. law enforcement and defense officials.

The Islamic State doesn’t stop at teaching materials. It has even built schools in eastern Syria in 2015, complete with curriculum, lesson plans and salaried teachers to indoctrinate children.

And what school wouldn’t be complete without phys ed? The Islamic State has a textbook on that, saturated in Islamic State imagery, that focuses less on dodgeball and more on tactical fighting moves.

Then there’s the math textbook, where children learn to count things like cherries, crayons — and bullets with weapon watermarks in the background.

Here’s excerpts of an Islamic State English primer, obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute: