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December 17, 2012

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

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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