Speaking to the UK media this week, Britain’s most infamous jihadi bride, and allegedly ‘reformed’ Terror’s sympathiser called on her fellow Brits to let her back in on compassionate grounds.
Shamima Begum, who left the UK at the age of 15 to join ISIS (banned in Russia) in Syria now claims her youth, naivety and altogether lack of foresight led her to stray into the arms of Islamic radicals, knowing not she was in fact joining “ a death cult.”
To drive the message home, a hijab-free, abaya-free Shamima (now 22 years-old) argues she has found her true calling: helping the UK and PM Boris Johnson fight the evil that is terrorism on account we all have done a poor job of it.
Indeed … if people such as Shamima still feel they can play the system – and by that I mean those western values she was only too keen to reject, make a mockery of and actively seek to destroy so that ISIS black flag could flow over all, we ought to think long and hard about how exactly we got here.
And where is here exactly?
I would argue limbo. Socially, politically and legally we lack the semantics, the tools and structure to adequately address the pernicious effects Terror and Terror’s ideology have had on our communities. To this very day we often conflate Islamic radicalism to Islam – forever linking in the public’s mind a world faith to the genocidal lunacy of a minority few. But more on that later …
Now in Al Roj camp in Syria, a camp which houses many of ISIS fighters’ families, Shamima now appears a poster-child for western values. Pinked-nail Shamima is a whole new person … no longer the ideal Islamic mother and wife hiding behind layers of fabric to protect her modesty and shield her from lustful eyes, she now is the ‘chick next door’ – the girl you must of course forgive for her past transgressions … after all, was it not Jesus who implored his Father to “Forgive them as they know not what they are doing.”
Ms Begum is playing right into what she knows to be the West’s greatest flaw … or strength, depending on how one chooses to look at it – our ability and desire to forgive out of compassion.
Our legal system, however imperfect, is centered around the concept of reformation, that people can change and should be given a second chance. But that cannot and should not apply to terrorism.
An act so intrinsically heinous that it sits in negation of all human values, Terror exists outside Society. As such, it should be treated outside what we consider to be the ‘norm.’ Let me take you back to the creation of Guantanamo Bay. And no, I’m not making a case for the penitentiary. On all accounts it failed to serve its initial purpose and most definitely served no one but Terror itself by feeding its anti-western narrative.
Guantanamo was initially thought of as a space outside America’s legal system so that Islamic radicals could be dealt with under rules and regulations designed to contain them and the ideology which motivates them. Early on America knew that Terror could not have its day in a court of law, for it would mean offering rights and privileges to the very men and women who ambition to tear down our legal system, our values, our desire to build a society freed from bias and prejudices.
Under ISIS, not all men are equal. Under ISIS mercy comes by way of a swift death. For those communities ISIS deems heretical, there has been no compassion offered, only murder and rape … in whichever order its legions have seen fit. The proud bearers of God’s Commandments, ISIS has mocked our values; time and time again calling from its pulpits for the annihilation of the West.
Why should we then offer the comfort and trappings of our civilisation now that they find themselves on the losing end of that war?
Ms Begum played and Ms Begum lost. She claims: “The reason I came to Syria was not for violent reasons … At the time I did not know it was a death cult, I thought it was an Islamic community I was joining.”
But I recall a time when Miss Lady Terror was rather adamant ISIS was justified in its attacks against the West – mainly the Manchester bombing. Reformed Shamima now argues she did not realise at the time that women and children were among the dead.
Hypocrisy aside, I’d like very much for Ms Begum to admit that women and children or not, any and all attacks on civilian populations can never be justified, never mind rationalised under an ideology who claims victimhood to act out its bloodlust.
Stripped of her British citizenship by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Shamima wants to come home. What this former thrice jihadi bride needs to comes to term with is that if indeed citizenship is an inalienable right, her support for Terror mooted her status as a person, and thus her claim to be granted privileges.
Society dictates that we all play by certain rules, that we shoulder certain responsibilities in order to demand our rights to be upheld and defended. Ms Begum lost such rights the second she flew out of Heathrow, started sowing suicide-vests onto ISIS volunteer martyrs, and acted a member of the Moral Police, gun in hand, to enforce radicals’psychotic sense of morality onto women.
Veiled or not, nail polish or not, Shamima does not deserve the mercy and compassion she refused so many. Millions have suffered under Terror’s blade, it is time for her to pay the piper … she dances to his tune long enough for any of us to believe that her remorse is not motivated by the realisation she bet on the wrong horse.
Catherine Shakdam is a research fellow at the Al Bayan Centre for Planning & Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements. She is the author of A Tale of Grand Resistance: Yemen, the Wahhabi and the House of Saud. She writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.