Summer camp in the Middle East: Suicide vest instead of swimming suit

Depending upon your world view, summer camp can different meanings for different cultures. Photo: What's wrong with this picture? Photo:AP

CHARLOTTEAugust 2, 2013What does the term “summer camp” mean to you? Swimming? Hiking? Arts & Crafts? Archery? Hot dogs? Ghost stories by a campfire?

For children in the Middle East “summer camp” could mean rocket launchers, hand grenades, suicide vests and learning how to manage an improvised explosive device (IED).

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From the beginning of June until the first week in July, Hamas organizes month-long summer camps for nearly 100,000 students. More than 60% of them are young men between the ages of 10 and 22.

According to the Chairman of the Hamas Central Summer Camp Committee, Moussa al-Sammak, three camps are conducted for age groups 10-15, 16-18 and college students who are older than 18.

Children from eight to 18 and older many orphans as young as eight years old, are recruited. Without parents such children are expendable in the eyes of the Taliban. Why not bribe starving kids with chocolates and candy and train them to kill? 

All Muslims are not terrorists. It is also a known fact that most of the radical violence taking place around the world today is the result of Islamic jihad. Therefore, it does not matter one iota that most Muslims are peaceful, because too many others are not.

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The Boston Marathon bombings in April created a media frenzy about the so-called “self-radicalized” perpetrators that carried it out. Do the math, eight-year olds are being indoctrinated into radicalism in the Middle East more than a decade earlier than the ages of the marathon bombers were in Boston.

Life in the Middle East is based upon paranoia and fear. The word “trust” does not exist because there is no such thing as trust. Hazem al-Amassy, one of the camp supervisors, justifies the training by saying, “The camps aim at instilling a culture of victory and teaching children about combat and how to adapt to war in the event of military confrontation.”

If that statement isn’t frightening enough, Amassy’s follow-up demonstrates the sort of paranoia that pervades the region, “It is our duty to prepare the rising generation for the impending confrontation with the Zionist enemy; for the battle will be lost if readiness is not attained.”

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Taliban jihadists are luring hungry orphaned eight-year old boys with sweets and giving them lessons in planting roadside bombs, acting as decoys and even becoming suicide bombers.

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One report cited the story of an eight-year old named Neaz who the Taliban bribed with chocolate after his village was destroyed. Neaz was taken to the next town where he learned to use a gun and build an IED.

Along with food, the boy was later given a “special” gift from his captors; a suicide vest.  Neaz was forced to try it on. Said Neaz, who is now 15, “The grenades went all around my body and then they offered me coins. They told me to blow myself up at a checkpoint. They kept encouraging me, telling me that if I did, I would go to heaven.”

Naez escaped and lived to tell his story.

Part of the brainwashing of children is the philosophy that death is better than life as long as they die as a martyr. If they become martyrs in the service of jihad they are taught to believe they are doing honorable work in eradicating the Jews in Israel.

Nobody ever explains why none of the leaders, trainers or camp supervisors don’t kill themselves if the rewards in heaven are so great.

Camps take place each summer and every year there is an outcry about the appropriateness of training children and teenagers in military techniques and Islamic jihadi brainwashing.

But the argument always falls upon deaf ears.

Peace talks between Palestine and Israel continue while children’s summer camps keep recruiting thousands of youthful militia, both male and female, in the event that “peace” should suddenly break out.

Most Muslims may, indeed, be peaceful, but with a few hundred thousand new candidates for jihad there is still plenty of violence to generate throughout the world.

Such are the halcyon days of summer in the Middle East.

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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events and the people and cultures around the globe. He is foundrt of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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