BBC (UK) — A charity has trained its counsellors to help parents who fear their children are being radicalised.
The NSPCC said its existing support line could now advise parents worried about extremists grooming a child.
It said counsellors had been trained to spot warning signs such as children isolating themselves or “talking as if from a scripted speech”.
Recent terror attacks “highlighted the growing problem of individuals being influenced by extremism”, it added.
The charity said it had already started getting calls to its free, 24-hour helpline from people worried about the problem.
Khadijah Kamara from Brighton says her son Ibrahim became radicalised. He was killed while fighting in Syria in September 2014.
“There were signs that you just don’t think about. You ignore them until after it happens and then it’s only when you think back that you realise,” she says.
Khadijah says Ibrahim became “withdrawn” and would “look down on other Muslims, if they were not practising enough”. He also spent a lot of time outside of the house and was difficult to contact.
“I didn’t even know about the word radicalisation, it wasn’t familiar. When he spoke about Syria, I said ‘you are listening to someone’ but he would just get angry. He was in denial that they were going to war.”
The training for NSPCC counsellors explains how extremist recruiters “befriend vulnerable targets, feed them ideologies and – in the worst-case scenario – persuade them to commit terrorist attacks”.
The charity said potential targets often had low self-esteem, were members of gangs, or were victims of bullying or discrimination.
Radicals tell them they can be “part of something special, and brainwash them into cutting themselves off from their friends and family”, it added.
Signs which may “hint at a child being radicalised” include children:
- Isolating themselves from family and friends
- Talking as if from a scripted speech
- Showing increased levels of anger
- Becoming disrespectful and asking inappropriate questions.
The helpline number is 0808 800 5000 and callers can remain anonymous.