On the homepage today I write about the horrifying photograph — of a spry seven-year-old holding aloft the severed head of a Syrian soldier — published on the front page of yesterday’s Australian. For those worried that said youngster might end up ill socialized from having to spend his days with only mass-murdering Islamic State fanatics for company, fear not. It seems he will have some prepubescent chums. Reuters reports:
A Saudi father gave his ex-wife the shock of her life when he informed her he was taking their 10 and 11 year-old-sons to join Islamist militants in Syria, telling her to count them as “birds in heaven”, Saudi-owned media reported.
The pan-Arab al-Hayat newspaper said on Tuesday that the unsuspecting mother had been told that her sons, Abdullah and Ahmed, were going on holiday with their father, identified as Nasser al-Shayeq, in a neighboring Gulf Arab country when she saw an Instagram photo of them in Turkey.
Al-Hayat said she telephoned her son to ask about the photo, only to receive a message from her ex-husband, a former Saudi civil servant, to say that he was taking the boys to Syria to join Islamic State, one of the most militant groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
“Count your children as birds in heaven,” Shayeq said in his message, according to al-Hayat, suggesting that they may be killed and become young “martyrs”.
Fellow Islamic State militants later posted a photo of the father and his two sons crouching in front of Islamic State’s black flag, with each boy brandishing an AK-47 rifle in one hand. The father was smiling as one of the boys also held a grenade in his other hand.