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English Cardinal Warns Teachers Against Islamic State Recruitment

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MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — It can take just one month to turn a disenfranchised teenage Catholic student into fanatical Islamic terrorist, an English cardinal planned to warn Catholic teachers. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster planned to tell delegates at a London conference to guard against the Internet recruitment of vulnerable secondary school students by the Islamic State. The cardinal was to speak to the Secondary Leaders’ Conference of the Catholic Association of Teachers, Schools and Colleges and the Catholic Education Service at London’s Amba Hotel Jan. 28, but he released his text Jan. 26. A combination of naivety, isolation, loss of shared values and easy access to the Internet are making children in their early teens prime targets for the terror group, his speech said. It said that from his discussions with young people who have flirted with invitations to join Islamic State, he had learned that children, typically ages 14 or 15, were being recruited at astonishing speed. “One said that it was clearly possible to bring a person to the point of being willing to leave all for the sake of their newfound cause, even to the point of embracing violence or suicide, within a four- or five-week period,” Cardinal Nichols said in his text. “One month is all it takes to transform a dissatisfied and disorientated teenager into a terrorist,” he added. “We are talking about the age of children in your schools, in your care. We are talking about youngsters around here,” he said in his text.