A proud father’s boast accompanies an image the U.S. secretary of state on Tuesday called “one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever.”

“That’s my boy,” Khaled Sharrouf wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of his 7-year-old son using both hands to hold up a man’s severed head.

The photo, since removed from Twitter, was reportedly taken in Raqqa, a Syrian city in the stranglehold of Islamic militants, where the Australian father has taken his young family to join the fight.

Condemnation has been swift and on Tuesday included scathing criticism from Australia’s most senior Islamic cleric, Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed.
Photo purportedly of Sharrouf’s childrenPhoto purportedly of Sharrouf’s children

“It is utterly deplorable for extremists to use Islam as a cover for their crimes and atrocities,” Mohamed said in a statement to CNN from the Australian National Imams Council.

“Their misguided actions do not represent the overwhelming majority of Muslims who emulate the pure teachings of Islam such as justice, mercy and freedom.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the image underscored “the degree which ISIL is so far beyond the pale with respect to any standard that we judge even terrorist group.”

“That child should be in school; that child should be out learning about the future; that child should be playing with other kids, not holding a severed head and out in the field of combat,” he said.

Kerry spoke at a news conference with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who also presented the image as evidence of the increasing threat of “homegrown terrorists.”

“There are a significant number of Australian citizens who are taking part in activities in Iraq and parts of Syria: extremist activities, terrorist activities,” Bishop said.

“Our fear is that they will return home to Australia as hardened homegrown terrorists and seek to continue their work here in Australia.”

Credited to CNN