International (MNN) – Following the London terror attack this past weekend, it was revealed that one of the assailants, Khuram Shazad Butt, had previously been reported to the police for trying to radicalize young children.
It’s nothing new, as Islamic extremists often target the most vulnerable people to indoctrinate.
“You’re seeing sort of in bits and pieces, in the midst of this mass of refugees and these displaced peoples, you’re seeing these profiles of the angry young people — young men particularly — seeking a purpose, and then being influenced by more radical leaders,” says Howard Dueck of TeachBeyond, an organization that provides Christ-centered education for people across the world.
One game-changer, however, is education. According to UN Refugee Agency, out of 6 million school-aged refugee kids, 3.7 million don’t have access to school. That’s a population roughly the size of Los Angeles.
“You have children and older people who have the hours of the day with nothing to fill them, and they are very vulnerable. So there’s just the immediate reality of filling their minds, coming alongside them when they’re very vulnerable and very open,” Dueck says.
TeachBeyond is looking to start a pilot program on the island of Lesvos, Greece, which is a primary entry point to Europe for refugees fleeing the Middle East. The program would provide children with a safe haven where they can receive trauma therapy, skills training, and English as a second language teaching.
“We, as much as possible, try to bring English as part of the education package — opening doors, helping to diminish the vulnerabilities in their lives that are caused by a lack of education and that multiply when there is ignorance. If they have a skill, if they have an education, they can get a job at some point in the future,” Dueck says. “They can have a purpose.”
That’s only on a human level. TeachBeyond’s overarching mission is to introduce children to the hope of the Gospel and help them grow in their faith.
“We are a Great Commission organization focused on reaching people with the Gospel and discipling them through a Christ-centered education,” Dueck says. “Our heartbeat is to see healing come to their lives with so much trauma, to see them know Christ, to encounter Christ through dealing with their trauma.
“Then we see them being discipled, relating all of life and learning to God and to His Word, having an integrated worldview and becoming, in the future…powerhouses for the Kingdom, as opposed to future jihadists.”
TeachBeyond is currently searching for a qualified team to help begin the project in Greece, as well as the funds to get it off the ground. You can contact TeachBeyond for more information by clicking here, and contribute financially here.