Shamima Begum, a British national, left the UK in 2015 when she was 15 years old to join the forces of the Islamic State. Now she wants to leave Syria and come “back home” because she is tired and pregnant (and the Caliphate has collapsed). Some are saying she should not be permitted to return (“she’s a traitor”); others are saying we should be compassionate (“she was just a child”). Some insist that since she remains a UK citizen she is still our responsibility; others say she ceased to be a UK citizen and forfeited all attendant rights the moment she swore allegiance to a foreign power which seeks to do us harm.
When you read her interview in the Times, it is hard not to be moved by the sincerity of her grief and remorse: now 19, she is manifestly a changed person: heart softened, mind transformed, totally repentant of her decision to join the Islamist murderers of the Daesh death cult.
Oh, sorry, no. Got that bit wrong (these things happen). Apologies. She actually told the Times: “I don’t regret coming here.”
Shamima Begum had two children with her Islamist husband, and they both died for want of food and medical care. But she doesn’t regret going there.
Two school friends who left the UK with her have both been killed by bombs. But she doesn’t regret going there.
She has borne witness to the slaughter and torture of innocents. But she doesn’t regret going there.
She has seen severed heads in bins which, she insisted, “did not faze her”. “It was like a normal life,” she said.
What kind of teenager isn’t fazed at the sight of severed heads, dripping with blood, faces wracked by contortions of terror and agony? What type of person, let alone teenager, isn’t fazed by that? Who finds severed heads in bins part of “normal life”?
“It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam,” she explained. “I thought only of what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance.”
Oh, that’s okay then.
So what would she do to the enemies of Islam in Gerrards Cross?
“I don’t regret coming here.”
“I don’t regret coming here.”
“I don’t regret coming here.”
When she swore her oath of allegiance to the Islamic State, it became part of her identity: it imbued her selfhood and defined her morality. She swore – most likely on the Qur’an – to do whatever was necessary in order to further the aims of the Islamic State in the realisation of the Caliphate. Respect for life and human dignity were discarded: those who do not submit to Allah are the enemies of Islam and must be put to death. They are not rational: Allah has destined their souls for eternal torment.
Oaths are sworn on pain of divine or preternatural wrath, so it is worth considering if Shamima Begum has renounced that oath. If she has not, is she prepared to? If she is prepared to, how do we know it is not Taqiyya? How do we know she is not simply dissimulating in order to carry another bomb into Manchester Arena?
She says she is tired.
What is the cause of her sense of emptiness, flatness, futility and low self-esteem? Does it derive from a lack of purpose now the Caliphate is no more? Does she think and feel that the quest should be revived? Would this constitute an incomparable good; a worthy and desirable vision for the United Kingdom which should command our awe, respect or admiration?
Why is her desire to come “back home” even a question? Even if she were abused or groomed or otherwise manipulated, she remains unrepentant of her decision and oblivious to the consequences of her actions. Why should the UK taxpayer fund the birth of her baby? Why should they pay for social services to support her? Why should they pay for her interrogation, monitoring or deradicalisation?
Because she is still British?
She doesn’t regret her allegiance to the Islamic State: “I was weak,” she said. “I could not endure the suffering and hardship that staying on the battlefield involved.”
She doesn’t renounce her Islamist allegiance with boundless affirmations of affection, kindness or benignity: she just wasn’t up to the job.
“But I was also frightened that the child I am about to give birth to would die like my other children if I stayed on. That’s why I really want to get back to Britain because I know it will be taken care of – health-wise, at least,” she said.
So the motive is health tourism. You have to admire her candidness.
But let’s look at this in a fair and balanced kind of way.
Her Majesty’s Government reportedly refused asylum to Asia Bibi on the grounds that they could not keep her safe from disgruntled Islamic extremists who believe apostates should be hanged. For fear of inciting hate and destruction, we apparently denied refuge to the needy.
Would it not be even more difficult to keep Shamima Begum safe from right-wing extremists and Islamic extremists, both of whom doubtless view her as a traitor?
Ah, but she has a baby in the womb. People are preaching compassion and empathy for Shamima Begum because they feel for her unborn baby. To ignore this innocent induces a sense of moral degradation. What have we become if our loathing of a teenager’s commitment to terror, violence and destruction should cause is to reject the defenceless life inside of her?
We abort around 200,000 unborn babies every year. Why isn’t Shamima Begum’s unborn baby just another foetus?
Those who become so disillusioned with the British way of life that they feel compelled to flee the country and wage jihad against us no longer have a home here. To renounce British values to the point of swearing allegiance to an Islamic army moves them beyond social activism or zeal for religious revival: the objective is world domination and Christian submission. This is achieved through religio-cultural penetration of our civilisation through education, customs, laws and values. The last thing we need is returning combatants to preach the call of ‘Islam in danger’ here as a means of rallying Muslims to defend their faith. We would be mad even to contemplate it.