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Look after refugee kids or there will be 'second' Islamic State

Korean priest says young Syrian refugees need care or they could become radicalized

Look after refugee kids or there will be 'second' Islamic State

Displaced Syrian children who fled the countryside surrounding the Islamic State (IS) group's stronghold of Raqa, wait for food distribution at a temporary camp in the village of Ain Issa on July 11. (Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP)

July 14, 2017

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Young Syrian refugees require education and care or they risk becoming radicalized said a Korean priest serving in Turkey during his visit to Seoul.  

"If we neglect anger, horror and fear that refugee children feel, there will appear a 'second' Islamic State," warned Franciscan Father Dominic Ko In-hyeon during a July 6-8 event for Middle East refugees held at the Franciscan Education Center in Seoul.

Father Dominic Ko, a parish priest for Korean Catholics in Istanbul, Turkey, stressed the importance of education for refugee children.

"The children will eventually return to Syria and rebuild the country. If we leave their trauma as it is, they will grow up into another form of Islamic State," said Father Ko.

Park Jo-dy, who runs a school for Syrian refugee children in Antakya, a city in southeastern Turkey, also emphasized the importance of education.  

"When the children first came to school, they didn't have a dream for the future," said Park who is a lay Protestant. "I feel they are being healed while studying at the school," she said.

Park's school provides programs such as creative arts and faith education to help children recover from the effects of trauma.

Park Jo-dy(left), a Protestant lay missionary who works in the Turkish city of Antakya, with her colleague explain the situation of refugee children at a talk at the Franciscan Education Center in Seoul. (Photo by The Catholic Times of Korea)

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