Generation Islam Comes to CNN

Christiane Amanpour

(August 13, 2009) – CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour will host a new Amanpour Reports two-hour event documentary, Generation Islam, on the battle for the hearts and minds of the youth of the Muslim world.

The documentary will debut on Thursday, August 13 at 8p.m. and 11p.m. ET and PT.

Viewers of the documentary will see and hear from young Muslims who are potentially vulnerable to manipulation by Muslim extremist groups.

More than half of the people living in the crowded Gaza strip are under the age of 18, and nearly 45 percent of the population in Afghanistan is under the age of 14.

Amanpour speaks to several Americans living and working in Afghanistan and Gaza, who are providing alternatives to young Muslims who are prime recruits for Muslim fundamentalists.

Viewers will also learn about Palestinian obstetrician gynecologist Izzeldin Abuelaish in Gaza, whose home was bombarded during the 2009 war between Israel and Hamas.

His three daughters were killed by Israeli shells.

Dr. Abuelaish invites Amanpour to meet some of the children in his family who survived. Despite his tragic loss, he continues to work for peace.

Dr. Abuelaish has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Amanpour also meets 35 children at a Gaza pre-school, many of whom have lost their homes or a parent in the war with Israel. Teachers notice behavior problems from these youngsters that seem related to their exposure to war and violence.

Dr. El-Sarraj, an expert in Muslim extremism, tells Amanpour that up to one third of the children surveyed there say that they want to be a martyr.

“Palestinian boys, even at age five, feel like they need to defend their families and their society, becoming disheartened when they can’t,” says Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj is a psychiatrist and founder/president of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and a commissioner of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights.