Should Jihadi brides be allowed to come ‘home’?
Everyone is talking about “The Three Girls” who ran away to become IS brides, one of whom has resurfaced and now wants to come “home”. Shamima Begum is nine months pregnant and unrepentant. The question is, should she be let back into the UK?
The general public thinks no, she made her bed and she must lie on it. The internet says no, overwhelmingly.
I’m ambivalent myself because... what if she and her child die or get killed? I don’t like the idea of martyrdom. The very idea is grotesque.
The World at One dealt with this news. The car radio is a bit crackly and tends to fade in and out, but I thought I heard Sarah Montague chatting to a former Met. Chief Superintendent called Dal Babu. (I’ve looked him up, and it seems he bears a grudge against his former colleagues) and I do believe he said it was the police’s fault that these girls managed to get away. He said they had been under surveillance at the time, and the police could have warned their parents, but didn’t. He said the police gave the girls letters for their parents but they didn’t pass them on.
Babu’s theory that the parents were completely ignorant of their daughters’ Jihadi-like aspirations struck me as extremely dubious, since at least one of the other girls' parents, Hussen Abase, pictured at the time of their disappearance holding a teddy bear, turned out to be pretty a radicalised Islamist himself. (he was caught on film gesticulating angrily, amongst the mob at an Islamist riot)
The next part of the programme included an explanation as to what might have driven the girls to run away. Henna Rai of the Women Against Radicalisation Network suggested that the girls’ families were “orthodox” and would have controlled their girls’ lives and imposed the customary severe Islamic-style restrictions upon them, so, what with “their hormones flying and no other way to express themselves”, naturally they’d want to escape, who wouldn’t?
I’m inclined to blame Islam itself, which - as well as the so-called 'groomers', was surely conveyed directly through the ones who fuck you up - your mum and dad. I love the way BBC people like to describe repressive, unreconstructed sixth-century cultural practices as “orthodox’ or sometimes ‘conservative’.
So go and interview the families. They put on a fine histrionic display of emotion for the cameras at the time of the girls’ abscondences; what with the tears and the teddies, and “Please come home, you’re not in trouble”
Yes, You. Are.
It’s very sad that both this girl’s babies have died. I’m sure the conditions in Syria were appalling, but you can’t help noticing that Ms Begum herself didn’t look particularly malnourished. Should she succeed in making her way back home with the baby I doubt she’d ever be trusted to look after it.