A grisly photograph showing a young boy, said to be the son of an ISIS rebel, holding the severed head of a slain Syrian soldier, proves the ‘hideous atrocities’ the terrorist group is capable of, said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The picture, taken in the northern Syrian city of Raqa, was
posted on the Twitter account of Khaled Sharrouf, an Australian
citizen who traveled to Syria last year and is now an Islamic
As if the photo was not shocking enough, Sharrouf attached the comment “That’s my boy!” to the Twitter image.
The shocking picture quickly went viral.
— Yank in Australia (@DaynaTrueman) August 10, 2014
The Australian leader warned that the photograph proved exactly
how dangerous the terrorist organization, which has swept across
parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months, really is.
“There are more photographs in newspapers in Australia today of the kind of hideous atrocities that this group is capable of,” Abbott said in an interview with ABC Radio.
“[The] Islamic State — as they’re now calling themselves — it’s not just a terrorist group, it’s a terrorist army and they’re seeking not just a terrorist enclave but effectively a terrorist state, a terrorist nation.
“This does pose extraordinary problems — extraordinary problems, not just for the people of the Middle East, but for the wider world, and we see more and more evidence of just how barbaric this particular entity is.”
Other top-ranking officials from around the world also provided comments on the image.
The photograph provided "graphic evidence of the real threat that ISIL represents," said US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in Sydney to attend the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), as quoted by the Australian newspaper.
“ISIL [ISIS] is a threat to the civilized world, certainly to the United States, to our interests, as it is to Europe, it is to Australia,” Hagel added.
Former Army Commander Peter Leahy, who recently sparked controversy when he warned of a 100-year battle against radical Islam, said the photo depicted a “depraved” and “barbaric act.”
“What’s that child going to think? What’s he going to be like for the rest of life?” Leahy told Sky News.
“We have to condemn that to the utmost effect,” the retired top-ranking officer continued. "We have to say as a community and all communities — Australian communities, Muslim communities overseas and Muslim leaders here in Australia — have to condemn that sort of behavior.”
Australian opposition member Andrew Leigh, while admitting the image was “horrendous,” reminded that “extremism comes in all sorts of guises” – not just among the followers of Islam.
“We need to celebrate the Australian Muslim community to recognize that there are many peoples of different faiths in the world and extremism comes in all sorts of guises. The Oklahoma bombing was carried out by a Christian,” he told the Australian.
In 1995, former US soldier Timothy McVeigh used a truck bomb to destroy the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, many of them young children attending an on-sight daycare facility.
The Australian government estimates that at least 150 of its citizens are involved in fighting or actively fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.