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VICENews1632 karma

This question made me smile! The first thing I would do is thank my god and every individual who helped me to find them. I will huge them, kiss them and pick them up like used to and put them on my shoulder. I will teach Yousuf and Zahra to be good people and to love everyone. I want them to be true humans who will never discriminate against anyone, I will show them how to be good citizens. As an American and as a Muslim my values teach me not to hate, but to love everyone regardless of their background. Even if they are back in the United States I will make sure they remember the many thousands of children who are suffering around the world, I will encourage them to participate in society to set an example for everyone. They left so many memories here for me, they left me at such a tender and beautiful age...Zahra was just crawling and used to wait for me near the door when I got back from work. Yousuf used to wait by the window and when he saw me parking the car he would run out to hug me. I will never get those years back, but I have kept all of their toys here and in the memories are still in my heart. Everytime I drive around Miami now it breaks my heart to see the places we used to go, but if they are here I will do everything I can to make them happy and care for them. Yousuf loved chocolate and potato chips, so I would take him to Sam’s Club and buy him anything he wanted...and the toy store for Zahra! She loves playing with dolls so I would give her so many of those!

VICENews851 karma

Thanks for the question! Since the story aired I have been receiving so much support from all corners, the comments that I have read on YouTube and other places have warmed my heart. This is a true story, but many people that I know did not realize everything that I have been going through. The feedback has been overwhelming - the sympathy for how much suffering Yousuf and Zahra are going through, and how much suffering I am going through...all of this has given me more strength to continue with my search. There are no significant developments so far on finding them, but we have renewed momentum and I am hopeful that this documentary can show everyone my appeal. I’m grateful to all the journalists who have highlighted this story, including the VICE News team that has told my story very powerfully

VICENews300 karma

I watched the vice news special when it was released last week and I just wanted to know how long has it been since you last heard your kids voice? Have the Isis caliphate stopped sending you messages or are you still in contact with them? I pray for your kids safe return, god bless you.

Thank you for your kind words. The last time I heard their voice was September last year...I got a call and I heard Yusuf’s voice for a few moments. He told me he missed me and asked how I was doing, I told him to take care of himself and Zahra. Yusuf told me he could hear explosions from bombs falling, this was during the time when the offensive against ISIS was in its last stages. I told him not to use any words of hatred and to keep love and respect in his heart. That was the last message I received from them, and right now I’m not in contact with anyone directly. When my wife was killed, I received messages telling me this news but that the children were still alive - since then all the communication has stopped

VICENews246 karma

SEB: This is a great question - the question of what to do with those who survived the caliphate is becoming increasingly important as time goes on and conditions in the camp get worse. From our experience in Syria, it was clear that the ideology of ISIS remains strong amongst those who escaped the fighting - so keeping tens of thousands of them locked up in this camp forever is not going to solve the problem. Speaking to those involved in these issues, a common theme is that Western countries should take responsibility for their citizens - otherwise it just becomes someone else’s problem. Stripping someone of their citizenship doesn’t make them go away, it just means they become a burden on the under-resourced local forces who are currently housing them. The US actually has a very good approach to this issue - they are planning to take ALL of their citizens back to the USA to face justice there. The camp has been described as a ticking time bomb - you can read more about that here https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/31/inside-al-hawl-camp-the-incubator-for-islamic-states-resurgence

VICENews210 karma

Thanks everyone for joining this discussion! I have been so touched by all of your support, and if you are interested to continue following my search I would be so grateful.

I have created a Twitter account that you can follow for updates https://twitter.com/ShikderYusuf

There is also a Facebook page that you can like and follow https://www.facebook.com/yusufzahra.shikder.3

And I am even making a website but it’s not finished yet! www.yusufzahra.com

I will never give up my search for my children, and if there is something you would like to do please contact my political representatives and ask them to help...it really works!

My senators are https://twitter.com/marcorubio and https://twitter.com/SenRickScott

Lastly, please keep my children Yusuf and Zahra in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you!

FROM SEB: Thanks for watching everybody! We will keep following this story


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Yusuf Zahra Shikder

Web: www.yusufzahra.com