In liberal circles, a wave of empathy is building for the “foreign fighters” of ISIS who desire to return to their Western lives. The tip of this iceberg is the very publicized case of Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old former Londoner who flew from Gatwick four years ago with two other girls her age to join the Islamic State.
Now, having abandoned the remaining ISIS-controlled territory for a refugee camp run by Kurdish militias in Syria, she is petitioning to return to London and raise her third child. Her case has been all over the British news. For someone who wants her baby to be cared for by the National Health Service, she is curiously unrepentant about joining a terrorist organization. Thus far she’s been unable to summon even nominal disapproval of the Islamic State-orchestrated bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed 22 people, much less the enslavement and mass rape of Yazidi women in ISIS-controlled areas. She’s even defended the most brutal ISIS practices as “compatible with Islam.” Nevertheless, a sort of British chattering class groundswell has arisen to welcome her, to treat her, as one columnist wryly put it, as “Britain’s long lost sweetheart.”
Treat her “with compassion,” urges the liberal Guardian. Naturally, her attorney describes her as a “victim.” Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn avers that Begum obviously “needs to answer questions” about her activities upon her return but also needs also to be “shown support.” It remains to be seen, however, whether she will return at all. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has revoked her citizenship, noting that she still retains Bangladeshi nationality and that her father has returned to Bangladesh. It’s not clear how the citizenship question will ultimately be resolved, but Begum has made it clear that she wishes to return to the UK where the social benefits are clearly superior.
In the television interviews she gives, she affects a normalcy and near-banality that evokes Hannah Arendt’s famous epigram about the Eichmann trial. Here is a young woman who left an apparently comfortable life as a straight-A high school student in Britain to join an organization that was self-avowedly bloodthirsty and at war, and now manages to speak of her experience as though she were expressing a preference for pop music. Asked about executions, she says, “I knew about those things and I was okay with it. Because, you know, I started becoming religious before I left. From what I heard, Islamically it is all allowed. So I was okay with it.” The sight of severed heads in dustbins, she avers, “didn’t faze me at all.” She says “a lot of people should have sympathy with everything I’ve gone through.” She just wants to “come home and live quietly with my child.”
That child, as one columnist remarked, is named after an Arab slayer of infidels. So it’s fairly understandable that most British people seem not at all eager to welcome her back into the bosom of their welfare state as if she had …read more
Via:: American Conservative
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