My son is googling jihad

Who can help me assess that?

It happened this afternoon. I brought his fresh clothes to his room. He was in the bathroom, but his computer was on, and this bearded guy on the screen was staring at me, both arms stretched out above his head. In his hands he was holding a machine gun, so of course the alarm bells go off.

Jugendlicher mit Kapuze sitzt vor einem Laptop
© iStock/Tommaso Altamura

You hear so much … did you think I didn’t hear about all the young men who go to Syria to fight some holy war? I am terrified! I don’t want to lose my child, but I don’t know what I can do. After all, he’s an adult. What should I do? Talking about problems is not very popular with boys anyway and even less with their mother. Why should I be suspicious anyway? There was always something on when I passed his room. Nowadays they are always on their mobile phones, on chats or on YouTube. Of course, I noticed that he has become more and more unapproachable. At some point I asked him why Mischa, his best buddy, hasn’t been around for a while. He brushed me off, “Someone like that can’t be my friend anymore. But you wouldn’t understand that.” Of course, now it’s all coming back to me. That wasn’t music I heard through the door of his room, but rather strangely monotonous songs and angry talk. The fact that he stopped going to training and locked himself in. And now this image, this terrible bearded …

Suddenly he stands behind me, grabs my shoulder and pulls me away from his computer.

In full panic mode, as I click through the open tabs and see what pages he has left open, I see page by page Google search results on jihad. Suddenly he stands behind me, grabs my shoulder and pulls me away from his computer. “You don’t understand this stuff. This isn’t my home anymore for me.” And then he grabs his gym bag and I just hear the door slam shut. But he’s not going to training because his basketball gear is lying on the bed. This story has an open outcome. Maybe the son is still reachable and he allows us in. Then we can work with him, talk about his doubts, his affiliation, and his idea of what Islam means and demands of him. Maybe the son left the country and we can at least support the family. Or he joined a faction within the country. And we can try to establish communication with him and help him slowly question the closed world view that has been conveyed to him, to put it into perspective and to correct the facts.