Even the most admirable writers and influencers can, occasionally, disappoint. It’s difficult to admit to oneself that there’s a flaw in the argument of someone for whom you have the utmost respect and admiration.
I hate to say this, but I have reservations about Douglas Murray’s article in UnHerd about Shamima Begum.
Shamima Begum will never leave Britain By Douglas Murray.
The former ISIS bride has been allowed to appeal the decision to strip her of citizenship. But whatever happens, we lose.
Yes indeed. If she comes back, surely she can't ever be expelled. Everything he says up to a certain point is 100% a-okay with me. Then, towards the end, I find this:
She and her cohorts waged war against this country and our allies; they lost, and by the most fundamental laws of justice and war they should have lost everything.
While that uncompromising argument seems perfectly fine when applied to the spurious Palestinian claim (so-called Right of Return) - that they lost a war of intended annihilation that they themselves started - so tough!
But that principle seems hypocritical when applied to Begum. Why? Because he’s effectively saying “Rot in hell you evil bitch - lie in the bed you created” and that uncompromising, harsh, inflexibility is all too reminiscent of radical Islam itself.
I might be saying something Michelle Obama-ish, like “When you go low, we go high”, but mirroring the rigid, inhumane and unforgiving characteristics of Islam seems like the wrong way of dealing with the problem.
I must admit that I have some sympathy with a commenter who received an onslaught of hostile, reactionary responses to his contributions. I think his argument deserves more than an avalanche of disparaging and not particularly original thoughts. I hope the author ‘Robin P Clark” will forgive me if I reproduce his comments, which include many worthwhile points, for your information.
“For the first time I have to disagree, totally, with Douglas Murray. He fails to grasp the point that this war is different. Because it is a continuation of the jihad started by an Arabian warlord 14 centuries ago. As part of the biggest hoax in history.Here is a little education for Mr Murray, which they probably forgot to mention at Oxford. Our civilisation, Western Christendom, was founded on Christianity. A most fundamental tenet of which is: "Forgive your enemies because they do not know what they do". And I don't propose to reckon to know better than 2000-year-old wisdom.Some people like to be nasty. They kick you for their amusement. They are criminals.But the Jihadists are not criminals. They are deluded. Their delusion is that the Islam hoax started by the Arabian warlord is the one true good religion.These terrorists and other jihadists do not need punishment. They need therapy. In particular, they need telling the truth about Islam, that it is a hoax invented by a greedy man to enrich himself.All those who collude with Islam in baselessly asserting that Islam is a peaceful and noble faith, including pretending to be "Professor of Islamic studies", while doing nothing to expose the exceptionally hateful violence-inciting nature of the Qur'an, are themselves complicit in the huge record of nasty things that have been done and still are being done in the name of this ideology unfit for humans.Shamima Begum is a victim. A victim of all those who defend Islam as something to be respected. And there are too many of those in high places in this country, not least so-called Lord ****, whose only response to my pointing out to him the facts about Islam was to report my "offence" to the police (so much for his asserted tolerance of divergent views). And Baroness *****, who repeatedly asserted that the terrorists were not the real Islam, yet could never be bothered to engage with the clear evidence that they are. The blood is on such people's hands, whether they intended it or not. But again, "forgive them because they know not what they do".Less hostile intolerant punishment, more understanding and honest telling of the necessary truths. We are at war not with guns, but with deluded beliefs. No amount of imprisonment and punishment is going to defeat those beliefs. Meanwhile Islam is already in crisis from everyone now being able to read its reportedly perfect Qur'an and many courageous people telling the truth about it. More of those voices, and an end to all the persecution and censorship against pretended "Islamophobia" is what is needed.
Mr Murray's grasp of history also appears to be less than comprehensive. There were natives of same states on opposite sides in the 1683 Battle of Vienna, one of the most important events in history (and Europe may well have not survived the Jihad otherwise). Needless to say, no-one learns about it in our "education" system...."The attraction of war was always the same. Men and women of violence could take what they wanted by force."Utter nonsense. The Jihadists make clear that they are simply following the commands of the Qur'an to fight those who disbelieve. The Qur'an acknowledged in several verses that the Warlord's subjects would prefer not to join that fighting:“Fighting is prescribed for you, and you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knows, and you know not.” [2:216] “Have you not seen those unto whom it was said: Withhold your hands and establish worship and pay the poor-due? But when fighting was prescribed for them, behold! a party of them fear mankind even as they fear Allah or with greater fear, and they say: Our Lord! why have you ordained fighting for us? If only you would give us respite for a while. I Say: The comfort of this world is scant; the Hereafter will be better for he who wards off evil.” [4:77]
One could be put off by the somewhat arrogant language with which he addresses Douglas Murray, but his insights into Islam itself deserve to be given due consideration and respect.
So what’s the answer? How do you solve a problem like Shamima?
For one thing - slightly deviating from my own unanswerable question - it is being argued by Begum’s lawyers that the school or the authorities in question must take responsibility for not having warned the families that their daughters were ‘being radicalised’. Well, if I remember correctly, the families were pretty much ‘radicalised’ themselves.
Prescribing a dose of harsh, retributory punishment seems to me like doing the very thing you condemn in others. Giving your foe a taste of their own medicine might offer a certain amount of gratification, but when specifically dealing with an ideology that is beyond reason, which Islam surely is, creating martyrs isn’t much of a deterrent; in fact, it’s the opposite. I think the term is 'recruiting Sargeant' (!)
I had an email disagreement with Melanie Phillips once, in 2008, about ‘smacking’. She was against bringing in a ‘no smacking’ law and I was in favour. I’m very likely on my own (politically homeless) there, too. I won’t go into it now - but suffice it to say my offspring (grown-up) won’t be perpetuating any form of corporal punishment, as the “Smacking never did me any harm” brigade are wont to do. The anti-smacking philosophy is constantly misrepresented and misunderstood, and I’m willing to expand on it any time you like. (Other than now)
If you’re going to boil these arguments right down to the bone, we seem to end up with ‘might is right’. Which (sadly) puts me in the wrong. Or does it?
It seems the problem is far deeper than just whether or not a brainwashed young woman deserves to be allowed back to the UK. The big mistake was ever allowing Islam to seduce us. ‘Woke’ is the least appropriate term for permanently sleepwalking useful idiots.
The Blair Government’s cynical and (transiently self-serving) immigration policy has one hell of a lot to answer for.