I’m warming to Shamima Begum, the jihadist bride who feels very, very strongly that she should be allowed back to the UK as a reward for the four tough years she spent in Syria supporting Islamic State.
She’s so outrageous, so unapologetic, so unsympathetic in every way that I’m convinced she must be a double agent for Mossad or MI6, there to show the world just how incredibly far we have to go if ever we’re going to get on top of the global radical Islam problem.
Take her recent interview with ITN news, in which she declared:
“I’m a 19-year old girl with a new born baby. I don’t have any weapons, I don’t want to hurt anyone even if I did have weapons or anything. He [Home Secretary Sajid Javid] has no proof I’m a threat – other than that I was in ISIS, but that’s it.”
— ITV News (@itvnews) February 18, 2019
Don’t you just love that “other than that I was in ISIS”? It reminds me of that old joke: “But apart from that, how was the play Mrs Lincoln?”
What Begum doesn’t appear to understand – and if it weren’t so chilling it would almost be funny – is that membership of ISIS isn’t one of those “no biggie. Wotevs” issues you can casually dismiss with a shrug.
We’re talking about an organisation which, by the time Begum left London in 2015 to join it was already implicated in numerous atrocities: beheadings, crucifixions, buryings-alive, burnings-in-cages, mass rape, the genocidal slaughter of the Yazidis around Sinjar.
In what way is membership of such an organisation not a threat?
Still, you’ve got to admire Begum’s heroic indifference to the weak Western notion that there might be something a bit iffy about, say, cutting off the heads of aid volunteers and journalists.
As she told Sky News, beheadings are “okay as Islamically, that is allowed.”
Phew. Now we’ve cleared that one up, let’s hurry the poor girl back to England as soon as we can.
Mind you, if that’s the plan, I’m not sure she has necessarily chosen the best lawyer for the job.
Tasnime Akunjee – who previously defended one of the murderers of Lee Rigby – has got a decidedly eccentric way of winning over British hearts and minds.
It recently emerged that he called for the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd to be sent to a “concentration camp”; and that, writing about the wildfires that killed dozens of people in the U.S. last year, he said: “If this doesn’t look like a punishment from God I don’t know what does.”
Then in an interview on breakfast television, he compared Begum’s plight to those of “First World War soldiers in the middle of shellshock”.
Do Begum and her lawyer have any idea how bad this stuff sounds?
The answer, worryingly, is that I suspect they really don’t care. It’s not tone-deafness or stupidity I detect in their tone so much as the triumphalist arrogance of jihadists who sense that the West simply hasn’t the stomach for a fight and can thus be treated with the utmost contempt.
For some perspective, it’s worth reading the moving Twitter thread by historian Tom Holland – who very bravely ventured near ISIS territory to make a documentary about the plight of the Yazidis.
This is a Yazidi I met in a roasting refugee camp, with his 2 surviving children. He lost 2 daughters (both under the age of 12) to the beds of ISIS rapists, & his 2 elder sons to brainwashers who turned them into killers for the Caliphate. pic.twitter.com/6295QEaxHK
— Tom Holland (@holland_tom) February 15, 2019
It casts a different light on this notion, currently being touted by the liberal intelligentsia, that of course we must bring this girl home for compassionate reasons. Well I’m sorry but if we’re in the business of compassion, I can think of tens of thousands of displaced Yazidi girls who deserve a place in the queue way before Begum).
If Begum is allowed back into Britain – as I suspect, inevitably, she will be – we need to be clear on the rationale behind it. It ought to have nothing to do with sympathy and compassion, the right to which she forfeited when she pledged allegiance to ISIS. Rather, it must be seen purely as a security issue: Begum may be more dangerous as a stateless person than she will be behind bars in Britain.
No, I don’t like the idea of this either: think of the cost; think how many of her fellow prisoners she will seek to radicalise; and what happens when she gets out.
But it’s definitely worth reading what Oxford law professor Richard Ekins had to say on the subject in the Sunday Telegraph.
Essentially, he thinks Britain should strengthen its treason laws:
Current law does not address the wickedness of choosing to side with your country’s enemies or the continuing danger posed by those who make this choice.
Anyone who chooses to aid a group like Isil should be charged with treason. But the Treason Act 1351 is too old a law: it needs to be redrafted and updated. In taking up its responsibility for reform, Parliament would be following the precedent set by the Treachery Act 1940, as well as legislation enacted by Australia last year.
Policy Exchange’s recent report, Aiding the Enemy, outlines how Parliament should restore the law of treason, specifying that it is treacherous to support a group that one knows intends to attack the UK or is fighting UK forces.
The offence is not limited to frontline fighters – anyone who chooses to provide logistical or other support for Isil, even bearing them sons, also betrays us.
Begum is the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more jihadists where she came from and it’s not a problem we’re going to deal with by just wishing they’d all disappear.
That’s why, I think, that we do owe Shamima Begum a debt of thanks for showing us how utterly ruthless and completely unrepentant these people are. I’m sure lots of progressive types have a fluffy idea in their heads about what homecoming ISIS brides ought to be like: weepy, guilty, sorrowful, fully deserving of a second chance. Begum has shown us the reality. It’s a lot less pretty…