Millions of children are effected by wars in Muslim countries over past few decades and are still suffering in various ongoing conflicts today.
A recent UN report has pointed out the killing of more than 2000 Yemeni children by aerial bombardment of Yemen by the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia in last few months.
According to UNICEF, 14 million children are affected by wars in Syria and Iraq. Syrian conflict, fuelled by foreign interests has resulted in severely desperate situation for more than 5.6 million children inside the country.
Almost 2 million Syrian children are living as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan whereas thousands have travelled to Europe in extremely difficult circumstances.
War in Iraq has forced more than 2.8 million children from their homes with many trapped in areas controlled by armed groups.
In Afghanistan, more than half million children have been killed with several million displaced over past few decades.
The creation of Israel led to the creation of the Palestinian refugees when children had to flee to neighbouring countries where they grew up in refugee camps. Now there are three generations of children born and raised within these camps under very poor conditions for the last 70 years.
Since 1970s, super powers have repeatedly invaded Muslim countries resulting in millions of deaths of adults and children. The resulting civil wars in Middle Eastern and African countries have left behind many more war effected children including millions of orphans.
These children have enjoyed nothing what a child deserves. Instead they have only seen destruction, misery, hostility and many suffered serious physical and emotional exploitation themselves.
Children from war-torn backgrounds have a tendency to develop depression as a result of the horrific things they have seen. Psychologist Michael Wessells says, “One of the greatest effects I see on a day to day basis is a loss of hope. Once young people feel hopeless, they really do give up. They don’t take steps that might build a constructive future.”
Children who grow up in armed conflicts are likely to feed of the hostility around them and become violent and aggressive. Another expert Ed Cairns of the University of Ulster says War-exposed children often imitate the violence they have seen while playing games and solve personal conflicts with aggression.
Terrorist organizations have used thousands of such children as suicide bombers in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria etc.
The modern technology has brought images of war, bloodshed, killings and suffering to every screen, be it a television, computers or mobile phones.
Muslim children, whose parents have migrated to Western nations from war torn countries or their Muslim peers are always keen to see what may be happening in their countries of origin.
Many terrorist organizations, which are originally created by people engaged in these wars or men who themselves grew up as children of wars, find it easy to incite passions and recruit these youth through social media to carry out crimes of terrorism in Western countries.
Omar Mateen, the perpetrator of the Orlando killings, who carried out the worst gun crime in modern day US, is the latest example. His parents had fled Afghan war and Mateen, since his childhood, would have heard stories of killings and injuries in his close relatives back home.
He repeatedly told his victims that the attack was the revenge for American bombing of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. He also allowed black Americans to be released because as he was quoted “they have suffered enough.” Terror attacks in France, Belgium etc were carried out by youth with similar background.
The ripple effects of these wars will continue to be felt across the globe in the form of terrorist attacks. Once the major powers realize the mistakes they have been making, bring peace to war torn countries, rehabilitate war effected children physically and psychologically, it is unlikely that ripple effects in the form of terrorism will subside.