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December 17, 2012 1

How Do We Talk to the Children?

The recent news of the shoot­ings of 20 young chil­dren and six adults at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in New­town, Con­necti­cut has had a dev­as­tat­ing impact on both youth and adults across the coun­try. In the face of this sense­less vio­lence, many are at a loss to find the words to express the depth of their feel­ings. Despite our best efforts to pro­tect chil­dren from the details of such inci­dents, they are often more aware than we imag­ine of what is hap­pen­ing in the world around them. When fright­en­ing and vio­lent inci­dents occur, chil­dren and teens are likely to expe­ri­ence a range of emo­tions, includ­ing fear, con­fu­sion, sad­ness and anger that can man­i­fest in many dif­fer­ent ways.

To coun­ter­act fear and help chil­dren feel safe, par­ents, teach­ers and care­givers can pro­vide oppor­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to express how they feel and chan­nel their feel­ings into pos­i­tive actions. In order to pro­vide the reas­sur­ance and guid­ance they may need, it’s impor­tant for adults to real­ize the impact of these kinds of events on them per­son­ally and to come to terms with their own feel­ings.  Before talk­ing to your chil­dren, take time to process your own feel­ings and per­cep­tions with other adults.

Be alert to signs of upset in your chil­dren, which can include with­drawal and a lack of inter­est in engag­ing in activ­i­ties, exces­sive act­ing out, fear of going to school and other behav­iors that seem out of the ordi­nary, and pro­vide a quiet time for them to ask any ques­tions they may have.  Above all, reas­sure chil­dren in age-appropriate ways that they are safe. When talk­ing to preschool­ers, for exam­ple, your response can be sim­ple and direct: “I love you and I will always do every­thing I can to make you safe.”

Dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions like this can be an oppor­tu­nity to dis­cuss fam­ily and com­mu­nity val­ues, beliefs and tra­di­tions. You can find some help­ful guide­lines for talk­ing to chil­dren in the after­math of hate and vio­lence at:

http://www.adl.org/issue_education/Hate_and_violence.asp

http://www.adl.org/education/discussing_hate_spanish.pdf (Span­ish version)

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October 18, 2012 2

Egypt-Based Group Shows Children Preparing To Fight Zionists And Jews

An Egypt-based group affil­i­ated with rad­i­cal Mus­lim Broth­er­hood ide­o­logue, Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has released a new video show­ing chil­dren being taught to fight and kill Israelis.

The video, released yes­ter­day by Al-Aqsa Trustees Move­ment, an orga­ni­za­tion that describes its mis­sion as “rais­ing new gen­er­a­tions to lib­er­ate Jerusalem,” was cre­ated to show the types of activ­i­ties orga­nized by the group’s Aqsa Child Committee.

The video depicts what appear to be kindergarten-aged chil­dren in Egypt angrily curs­ing, attack­ing and behead­ing card­board cutouts of Israeli sol­diers with Stars of David on their heads.

The Al-Aqsa Trustees Move­ment is headed by anti-Semite Salah Sul­tan, the head the of the Jerusalem com­mit­tee of the Inter­na­tional Union of Mus­lim Schol­ars, which was founded by al-Qaradawi. The Trustees Move­ment was founded, accord­ing Sul­tan, “to cre­ate a new gen­er­a­tion who will carry the trust of Al-Aqsa in the face of Jews…We hope that the young men and young women of this Ummah will join us.”

The video starts with a writ­ten intro­duc­tion stat­ing: “After the chil­dren learned about Al-Aqsa Mosque and what the Jews did to it, they went to kill the Zion­ists and lib­er­ate the Mosque.” The chil­dren are then shown engag­ing in a game where they attack human shaped card­board cutouts of Israeli sol­diers with Stars of David on their heads.

At the end of the video, one child is shown car­ry­ing the head of one of the card­board Israeli sol­dier and say­ing, “Look how the Zion­ist sol­dier ended.” A teacher then tells the chil­dren, “play kids, play,” and says “look how he tram­ples him,” refer­ring to one child who steps on one of the card­board sol­diers. Another teacher is heard say­ing “hit him, hit.”

Those inter­ested in join­ing the Al-Aqsa Trustees Move­ment are required to fill out an appli­ca­tion form and pledge alle­giance to the group’s pro­grams, accord­ing to its Face­book page. 200 appli­cants have appar­ently already been accepted, accord­ing to the page.

Accord­ing to Hager Al-Oshary, a mem­ber of the group’s Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, the group has pre­vi­ously orga­nized activ­i­ties at Cairo Uni­ver­sity, includ­ing a rally to “remind the Arab Youth about their duty towards the Pales­tin­ian cause.”

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