August 17th, 2007 06:03 EST
Juvenile detainees in BAGHDAD
A juvenile detainee education facility opened at Camp Victory, Iraq, Tuesday.
Dar Al-Hikmah, or The Wisdom House, " is designed to give juvenile detainees an education, which would benefit their eventual release and reintegration into society.
Al-Qaeda and other extremists are using juveniles against us, " said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Rob Glenn, the Dar Al-Hikmah education program manager. As a consequence, we`re detaining many juveniles. "
In order to prevent another generation of insurgents and those who would do harm (against) the future of Iraq or Coalition forces, we`re educating them, " he added.
Dar Al-Hikmah, or The Wisdom House, " provides basic education instruction for approximately 600 detainees ages 11-17. The education center features classroom spaces, a library, a medical treatment facility and four soccer/athletic fields.
Time on a detainee should not be wasted, " said Glenn. It should be turned into an opportunity for that juvenile so when he leaves, he`s ready to enter the new world of Iraq as a wiser and more educated person and hopefully build his own family and future. "
During Baghdad`s golden age, " the Dar al-Hikmah was the center of knowledge and education in the city.
While the education program for Dar Al-Hikmah includes the basic fundamentals set by the Iraqi Ministry of Education, The Wisdom House " also includes programs such as sports, art, religious studies from the Koran and other necessary programs.
In general, it will help them be employable and get them back into being a productive member of society, " said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Douglass Stone, Detainee Operations commanding general. Programs like this along with employment are the way of the future. "
Currently, approximately 800 detainees are juveniles captured during operations in Iraq.
That`s 800 lives we have an opportunity to impact, " said Glenn. We ensure when the detainees are released that they pick up a book instead of an AK-47. "
Together (Coalition and the detainee youth) we can marginalize the extremists, " said Stone. Together, it`s with these youth who will make this country great. "
While Coalition forces continue efforts against terrorism, Dar al-Hikmah is expected to turn young detainees into citizens of the new Iraq.
The war is going to be won by educating people who have been robbed of the opportunity to learn by people like al-Qaeda, " said Glenn. The way to stopping bloodshed is education. "
(U.S. Army story by Spc. Carl N. Hudson, Combined Press Information Center)