The story behind Christianne Boudreau & Mothers for Life
‘Mothers for Life’ is a truly unique global network of mothers who have experienced violent jihadist radicalization within their own families. In most cases, they have seen their sons and daughters leave for Syria and Iraq and in many cases never to return to their side. In some rare cases, their husbands have also been radicalized.
Within the group, they all share the burden of having seen how radicalization can destroy the bond between mother and offspring. One of the core aims to ‘Mothers for Life’ is to bring these mothers together to give them the feeling of a safe and secure network of people who share those experiences and to try help heal their wounds. ‘Mothers for Life’ also wants to give a strong and unified voice to these mothers and their individual stories.
The group, Mothers for Life, aims to help mothers find a stronger voice to counter those intent on radicalizing their children. For parents of westerners who have already joined the ranks of Islamic State, and for those who fear their children may yet be recruited, groups like this can offer a kind of emotional haven for them and their families.
Over the past year, a steady stream of young European and North American males have made their way across to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. So far, thousands of Westerners have left to join ISIS. And for what?…..
Since the Syrian civil war began, an estimated 20,000 foreign nationals have made their way to Syria and Iraq to fight for various radical Islamist factions including ISIS. Unfortunately many go without the knowledge or consent of their families. After they’ve gone, their parents are left with a form of grief that is surreal.
These parents are left with the sorrow at the loss of a child, the guilt at what he or she may have done and also the shame in the face of hostility from friends and neighbours.
Over the last year, dozens of these mothers from around the world have found each other, somehow merging a strange sort of alliance from their combined losses. What they want, more than anything, is to make sense of the senselessness of what happened and what is ultimately happening to their children—and for something meaningful to come from their deaths, if that’s at all possible.
ISIS currently uses the internet and social media in particular right now to their advantage and it seems to be their biggest strength in recruiting the youth of America, Canada and Western Europe. These westerners then get in touch with each other and encourage each other across the many forms of social media out there. In the same breath, social media should therefore be used to save these young westerners from making these mistakes and ultimately save their lives.
How it all began – The story of Christianne Boudreau
Christianne Boudreau learned that her son was dead when a reporter showed up at her doorstep. This is what been a Mother4Life entails. It had been a year since her son, Damian, left the family home in Canada to join a jihadi training camp in Turkey.
Boudreau was now unable to help save her son, but she was determined to do something. She felt that no other mother should suffer the same experience that she had just gone through and if they had to that they would have a support network on standby. Boudreau founded a group to help counter extremist propaganda in Canada, and she helped launch Mothers for Life, a network of mothers from seven European and North American countries whose children have left their home and gone on to fight with jihadi groups.