Sympathy, or no?

Isis Briton Shamima Begum faces move to revoke citizenship

I must admit, I am in several minds about this. On the one hand,
Shamima Begum made the decision to join Isis with a couple of her school friends in 2015, at the age of 15, and is now 19 with a newly born son. Neither are ages of emotional or mental stability or maturity. It’s been speculated she was brainwashed into going. If so, what responsibility does she actually have for her actions?

On the other hand, she’s said she doesn’t regret going or anything she’s done, and that she supports the aims of Isis terrorism. So what has she actually done, besides joining Isis and supporting their political goals, which are more than mere terrorism? Possibly her actions were criminal, though performed by a juvenile. If there is reason to believe her actions were criminal, surely the thing to do would be to bring her back, let her go through psychological assessment, and prosecute her in a fair court of law to find whether she is, in fact, guilty of the charges.

At least her family could then look after the boy who is perhaps a tad too young to have committed terrorist crimes.

It’s no solution to make her or her child stateless as Sajid Javid, the home secretary, clearly wants to do. Well, he’s a Tory so has no sense of compassion, ethics or morality worth mentioning. He’s also a member of a party and government whose policy, along with that of the US, has been to attack Muslim nations, thus driving the fears and hopes that caused the rise of Isis in the first place. (Let’s not forget Labour’s Blair and the war against Iraq. Plenty of blame to go around. Let’s not forget Corbyn’s embrace of antisemites in his Labour party, either.) UK and US policy has been in no small way contributory to terrorism spawned in the Middle East. If we keep throwing petrol on the fire by attacking Muslims, how is this ever to get sorted?

I don’t know whether Shamima Begum committed a crime in doing what she did, or whether she was brainwashed into doing it, or whether there is a hope of reconciliation, contrition or rehabilitation. And neither will anyone else if she is made stateless, as the Tory government insists. It will just result in the destruction of at least two lives, hers and her son’s. And who knows what other horrors that might generate or inflame.

I can understand the resentment against Isis and its terroristic crimes. What we should do is look beyond that, and take lessons from Ireland, which we are on the brink of pulling asunder again, thanks to stupid Brexit Tories. Sometimes to heal, we have to forget, forgive and turn a blind eye, so we can move on from the present horror to something better.

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