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On the Merciful Consideration of Some Youths Lured to the Islamic State

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11.

All adults were once kids. Childish reasoning and acts, at times bizarre, abound then. As adults, reason and the ability to discern between right and wrong, have hopefully taken root.

Therefore, as incidents involving the arrest of some youths who are trying to make it to Syria to join the extremist Islamic State(IS) emerge regularly, those responsible for apprehending and meting out punishment to these youths, should accord full consideration of the vulnerable state of youthfulness. Hence, justice must be tempered with mercy.

Not mercy for those who conspire, plan and carry out violent acts; but mercy to those duped into attempting to venture overseas to find glory and self-worth in fighting for a fallible cause which they have perceived as honorable. 

Mercy should be extended to these youths because their societies have failed them. Their societies have failed for not imparting the true essence of local community spirit and of patriotism upon them. Their societies have failed them by presenting confuting local scenarios and events that call into question the community's sincerity to the ideals of freedom, human rights and equality. Their societies have failed them by not involving them in local governance.

Thus, children have acted childishly. Many have not yet reached that threshold of adulthood, so they have been influenced by misinformation to fight for a fallible cause. The children apprehended should now recognize their wrongs. And as they make this recognition, communities must show them mercy as an added affirmation to the civility of their homelands and as a demonstration of the misgivings of radicalizing internet propaganda.