Investing in children to stop the scourge of extremism –

Children’s rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman says: “The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; the question is whether we can afford not to.”

When we don’t invest in our children, the results can indeed be disastrous.

Norwegian filmmaker Deeyah Khan recently made a documentary called “Jihad: A Story of the Others.” In it Khan seeks to understand why young men of her religion living in Europe get involved in violent extremism.

It was quite a challenge for her. As a Muslim woman involved in the arts, she was often a target of hate crimes herself.

What Khan discovered, surprised her. She found disenfranchised young men caught between two cultures. They didn’t feel like they fit in anywhere and so they lived without hope. Many had been abused or neglected as children. So they became vulnerable targets for jihadists, who offered them the things no one else offered, things they craved: belonging, significance, purpose and acceptance.

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