If these were your grandchildren, how would you feel? 553



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It’s a situation no grandparent would want to face: seeing your own grandchildren in the public eye, judged for the crimes of their father.  But to the parents of Tara Nettleton, wife of Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf, it’s a tragic reality.

Sharrouf left Australia for war-torn Syria with his wife in 2013, joining terrorist group Islamic State. Their five young children accompanied them.

His wife and children now reportedly wish to return from the dangerous warzone back to Australia – and the children’s maternal grandmother is pleading for their safe return.

If these were your grandchildren, would you fight to return them home?

Sharrouf paraded his children on social media to support his cause, holding weaponry and posing in front of IS flags. In one post that shocked the world, his  then-7-year-old son was photographed holding a severed human head with the caption “that’s my boy”.

Khaled Sharrouf’s first tweet, featuring his own son.

Yesterday, Starts at 60 asked the community: should we let the jihadist’s family back into Australia?

Responses were extremely powerful and divided.  Some felt that the family should accept the consequences of their decision; others believed the children had no control over their crimes or upbringing, and could be rehabilitated back in Australia.

To Tara Nettleton’s mother Karen, the matter is simple: her family needs to return home.

In a heartbreaking media statement, she pleaded for the safe return of her five grandchildren.

“There have been a number of false statements made about me, my only daughter Tara, and my five grandchildren,” she said. “I am terrified that misunderstandings can make them targets.

“I plead with the Australian government and its institutions to put politics aside and do everything in their power to assist my family’s safe passage and return to my home. They are young Australians in real danger.”

Can a grandparent’s love be stronger than the wrongdoings or toxic upbringing of their grandchildren?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. As a grandmother I can relate HOWEVER they have been indoctrinated by anti Australian ideas. They are young but they won’t forget what they’ve seen….and perhaps even done. Sad situation all round. Their destinies have been made by their parents………..

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  2. Who knows what Tara and her children have seen but, yes, of course if I was Tara’s mother I would want her and her children home.

  3. Bring the children home as fast as possible … to their maternal grandparents and get them counseling. They were kidnapped…treat them accordingly. The mother/wife …allow back ..into custody and have her judged ……. HIM ..leave him where he chose to go.

  4. anyone who says they would not fight for their grandchildren is a cold hearted bastard or a liar. most of us would go to the wall for our grandchildren but that does not mean we have to have them back here, I feel sorry the kids , their lives are ruined

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  5. True

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    • They are not Australians and never will be regardless of what their passport says living in closed community and brainwashed from an early age . Grandfather and Grandmother should have taught their children to assimilate into Aust. society and children should have taught their children the same .. do not allow them back into Aust.

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  6. I think it’s a very sad situation…the kids certainly didn’t have a choice to be taken out of the country…the wife may NOT have either. We don’t know for sure. I think they will be screwed up for life. Letting them back in is fraught with danger because the wife could be being sent back to indoctrinate more innocents. But there could be another side to the story. We cannot judge. On another site everyone said not to let them back. But unless we know the whole story, we should not say. If I were the kids grandparent, I would be desperate to see them again.

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    • They haven’t met these kids and have not seen their daughter in ten years, so obviously they don’t really know them.

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      • Hi Gail,
        Yes, that was my understanding too, that the family have been estranged from the grandparents for ten years or more. If they did come back who is to say these grandparents would see the kids anyway. Sorry, but they should not be allowed back here under any circumstances.

    • I would have loved you for a grandmother, I never had one as my mother was taken from her family and sent to Yarrabah in 1916! It will be 21 years since she passed on 31st of this month. Miss her dearly..

  7. If these children return they will be treated like martyrs by the ratbag elements. No way should they be allowed back. Grannie should have bought her kid up better to respect this country and pledge allegiance to us, not the mongel scum they CHOSE to go and fight for.

  8. my heart aches for that woman, she got her family out war and strife only to have her children take her grandchildren back there. On the news last night was a report about these children, and I can tell you it worried me, These kids have been threatening local people to behead them, they carry knives and mobile phones around and threaten to behead and put the pictures online. It would be nice to think we could get them back here and teach them a better way but gee I am not sure that indoctrination could be undone

  9. I would like to SLAP this Woman Silly. No Mother would take her Children to a WAR ZONE. No she just thinks that she can come and go as she Pleases. Her Children have been BRAIN WASHED already, I feel sorry for them. BUT Australians live in a FREE Country, if they cannot except it DONT COME HERE.

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    • I don’t want my taxes to go toward their counselling when there are more immediate problems on our own doorstep. Personally I don’t believe they could be trusted as they got older no matter how much they were counselled. Sad but that is the way it is

    • Think of all the things that could benefit from the money waisted on these uninvited GUESTS. Hospitals. Schools. The Arts. And they have the nerve to call it a religion.

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