I’m used to finding myself in a minority, and I’m probably in a minority over the Shamima Begum fiasco, but I find myself agreeing with all sorts of contradictory arguments from a whole lot of people I don’t normally agree with.
Was Sajid Javid playing to the gallery with his hasty revocation of Ms Begum’s citizenship?
Obviously, it resonates with public opinion, but if you think about it, what’s a Muslim Home secretary to do? Damned if he does; damned if he doesn’t.
It’s illegal to make anyone stateless; the Today Programme’s expert de jour said Javid’s decision couldn’t possibly be legal, as Bangladesh denies Ms Begum’s existing citizenship and rejects the possibility of her obtaining any in future.
Is Javid playing a long game, knowing she’ll win her appeal? Is it his heavy-handed bid for promotion? Who’s paying for the legal fees? An Islamic charity? Crowdfunding? Anyone?) Ah! Tasnime Mohammed Akunjee is offering his services pro bono. (But surely more legal costs will be accrued than just his.)
The Begum family’s lawyer, Tasnime Mohammed Akunjee, has been speaking on the BBC.
This piece in the Telegraph reveals a few of his best bits - his past statements and affiliations so you can get a picture of where he’s coming from. (9/11 was an inside job; has links to Cage; wants Amber Rudd to find herself in a concentration camp; wants to ban products decorated with union jack; blames security services for ‘creating’ Lee Rigby’s killer by making life difficult for him; has been pictured with Jeremy Corbyn)
Another prominent Muslim individual has also spoken again on the Today Programme recently. Ex-police chief Dal Babu, who suffers from a heavy ’racial’ chip on his shoulder and describes himself as a friend of the family. He repeated the observations he’s made previously on the BBC, blaming the authorities (the police, the school and “Tower Hamlets”) for not telling the parents that their daughters were being groomed and radicalised, though he knows the authorities were well aware that this was happening. Had the girls’ parents known, he claimed, they would have stopped them from travelling. (I understand Shamima, at least, stole her sister’s passport to travel.)
Again he mentioned the infamous warning letter, meant for the parents, that was found in the schoolbag too late. None of these points reflects very well on the quality of parenting. Perhaps they were all completely ignorant of their daughters’ religious proclivities or they were aware, and sympathetic, like Hassem Abase.
There is some confusion. I understand that another girl with a similar first name and also a ‘Begum’ was one of the influencers/groomers that enticed the girls to flee to Syria. She was the girl who was born in Bangladesh, and she was the one whose mother had died. Shamima’s (Bangladeshi) mother is alive, and Shamima was born in the UK.
I listened to the Moral Maze. I was sorry Melanie Phillips wasn’t there. Clare Fox, Anne McElvoy, Mona Siddiqui (definitely the best of the lot) and Giles Fraser wrestled with Myriam Francoise Cerrah, formerly one of the BBC’s The Big Questions’ favourite Muslims and the most annoyingly sanctimonious person you’d ever wish to clap eyes on, and Haras Rafiq as well as Richard (Counter Terrorism) Walton. It arrived at little or no satisfactory conclusion.
The argument for allowing Begum and child back to face ‘due process’ hinges on the vagueness of what constitutes substantive evidence. “What am I supposed to have done?” “ I’ve only been a housewife” and so on.
If she hasn’t committed any actual violence and is merely an ‘enabler’ can she be convicted of anything much? It looks doubtful. On the other hand, if she’s left to the mercy of fate, what about the baby, who is technically British?
Some so-called experts say these people can never be genuinely un-radicalised. I don’t know about that - lingering tribalism is one reason why I’m still a tiny bit wary of Maajid Nawaz. On the other hand, look at Mosab Hassan Yousef aka Son of Hamas. He seems like a genuine, thoroughly un-radicalised guy. But was he ever radicalised in the first place, or was he one of those rare individuals who was born with innate curiosity and cynicism?
Anyway, I still don’t think Shamima Begum’s fate is the most important issue. It seems like an inordinate waste of time and money, endlessly anguishing over that one individual. By all means, keep her away from the public, but let’s focus on the real problem, which is the Islamification of the west.
God, if only Tommy Robinson would stop using the word Mumpf instead of the conventional ‘month’ and start pronouncing ‘anything’ and ‘everything’ without the emphatic, nay, percussive k at the end, he might acquire the credibility that prevents people like Douglas Murray and Melanie Phillips viewing him with a kind of classist disdain. Join forces! Tommy’s got the chutzpah and the pugilistic derring-do and you’ve got the eloquence and education.
I myself am a terrible snob - but not a classist-type snob. (Can you be snobbish about the abject stupidity of stupid people who think they’re clever?) If so, I’m either that kind of snob, or I’m actually that kind of person. Or both. (Don’t tell me which one you think fits best)