A nine-year-old British boy stood up in class and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, he told the media.
Teachers informed the government’s Prevent program, who came to the school and spent a year holding de-radicalization sessions with the child.
Identified only as Haroon and now aged 10, he told the BBC Radio Four’s Today program how he became entranced with the terrorist group following the Paris attacks in 2015.
Haroon began searching for information about the group over the internet. Initially, he found news stories and a Channel Four documentary, but then accessed Islamic State propaganda material directly, including beheading and torture videos.
He also said he had been bullied at school and called a “terrorist” by his classmates, which drove him to Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) propaganda.
“I saw men with hands behind their backs. They were hit and told to sit down. That’s when they cut their heads off,” Haroon said.
“On a weekend, everyone was outside playing, so I would sit freely in the living room with the computer.”
Radicalizing children is a top priority for ISIS, which produces carefully-branded propaganda material specifically aimed at children.
Meanwhile, Turkish authorities are investigating a number of schools in Istanbul reportedly set up by ISIS.
In one case, prosecutors say they found discs containing notes of classes teaching ISIS material to students. Police are investigating 35 people in connection with the school.
Among other things, the school was allegedly teaching children that those who celebrate Turkish national holidays are “infidels” and educated them to oppose Turkish institutions such as the courts, military and the entire political system.
According to the indictment, prosecutors are seeking aggravated life sentences for six of the suspects in the case on charges of “attempting to remove the constitutional order.” Other suspects are charged with membership in a terrorist organization for which prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 15 years each.
Turkish media has reported that more schools are under investigation.