I hardly ever watch TV these days (she says, automatically disqualifying herself from doing what it says on the tin) but, alerted to a bit of a hooha in the press about a scene that had to be judiciously excised from Stacey Dooley’s Panorama about ISIS women, my ears pricked up.
“BBC apologises after Stacey Dooley wrongly claimed women gave 'Isil salute' in Panorama documentary” screams the Telegraph.
The papers are full of the shocking news that Stacey Dooley had been filmed mistakenly describing the ‘one-finger’ Islamic (Only one God) sign as “the ISIS salute”) and that the BBC had edited out the offending words in a last-minute attempt to save their Panorama and make it acceptable to one and all.
My immediate thought (and possibly yours too) was that the BBC had caved in under pressure from the vociferous Muslim community, naturally outraged at the very idea that Islamic State (so-called) is Anything To Do With Islam.
So I dutifully turned to iPlayer and watched Panorama.
Guess what? I thought it was jolly good. For what it was. How could such a short film encompass the whole sad and sorry situation, nuances, irregularities, special cases and all?
Stacey Dooley's Panorama did a far better job than I’d expected. Where she was able, Stacey Dooley asked many of the questions viewers would want her to ask.
As an irreligious cynic, I noticed that some of the ISIS women themselves got a bit hot under the niqab when Stacey Dooley tried to differentiate between IS and Islam proper. “It’s all Islam”, one irate woman said.
To me, the trappings of all religions seem ridiculous. The more extreme, the more obnoxious yet comical they look. Most religious dogma actually strikes me as kind of babyish, like some play-rules dreamed up by a couple of 5-year-old girls on a wet afternoon. If I had any influence (which you’re relieved to know I haven’t) I would do my utmost to separate these IS widows into smaller groups and not have them cooped up together where they can re-radicalise and re-indoctrinate each other in perpetuity.
As it is, the mothers and children in these godawful camps are kept in line and intimidated by a dim-witted and tyrannical sisterhood. The minute one has an independent thought she’s punished and perhaps her tent is torched.
If we have to spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on foreign aid, instead of boosting the grotesque Palestinian ‘Pay for Slay’ policy or funding UNRWA textbooks full of pro-Hamas propaganda, why not devise a way that some smaller mother and child units could be set up in Syria or perhaps even in their own countries. I guess such ventures would still be looked upon as imperialist rehabilitation units and vilified by western liberals who insist that Jihad and all the unmentionable cultural and religious quirks of Islam must be seen as a credit to the tolerance within liberal western societies, and must not be interfered with by outsiders.