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ISIS Bride Should Be Judged for What She Did, Not Who She Is

In 2015, Shamima Begum was one of three teenage girls from Bethnal Green, London, who flew to Turkey and then travelled across the border into Syria with the intention of joining ISIS. The girls had done their research, raised funds, and made travel arrangements all (apparently) without the knowledge of their parents, who heard nothing more from their daughters after they entered Syria.

It seemed unlikely that they would ever return, even if they wanted to. But then last week The Times published a remarkable story: One of their journalists had found Begum in a refugee camp in Syria, who had fled the collapsing Caliphate and lost contact with her husband, a Dutch Jihadi. Begum was nine months pregnant (she’s now had the child) and, having already lost two children to disease and malnutrition, wants to return to the UK, if only for the sake of her new baby.

She has expressed no remorse about her decision to join the terrorist group. In the audio recording of her interview, Begum sounds eerily calm, at one point saying that she was unfazed when she saw a severed head in a bin. This could be a sign of trauma, or of callousness—we simply don’t know. We also don’t know what crimes she may have committed during her time in Syria, though it seems likely that she could be prosecuted for a number of offences if she ever returns to the U.K.

The U.K. government now has to decide what to do with her. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been talking tough, threatening to strip Begum of her British citizenship and prevent her returning. He has been criticized by many on the Left, among them the MP Harriet Harman who tweeted that Begum deserved compassion, having been “groomed online” and “lured abroad to be used for sex.” Regardless of Begum’s culpability when she left for Syria aged 15, it’s likely she now poses a security threat.

If she did return to the U.K., she would also be a target for the far-right and would have to be protected by the British police for the rest of her life. There is an irony in all this, of course. Having gone to great lengths to wage Jihad against the West, she is now throwing herself on the mercy of the very state she despises. Are these the actions of a young woman too deluded to recognize what she has done, or of a cynic who now realizes that her hopes of living under a victorious Caliphate have come to nothing? Again, we don’t know.

I disagree with the Home Secretary. I think that Begum should be allowed to return to the U.K., although she’ll have to do so on her own—U.K. officials should not be put at risk in efforts to retrieve her. If she does manage to get back, my hope is that the machinery of the state will then grind into action. She should be prosecuted for any crimes that she has committed and punished accordingly. Her parenting capacity should be assessed by social services, who might well put her child into care. She should be protected from violence, and the public should also be protected from her. She is a U.K. citizen and this is how we do things here—or should. “Without fear or favour, affection or ill will” in the words of the Judicial Oath that all our judges have to swear. This is a principle worth defending, even (or perhaps especially) when vengeance might be more satisfying. 

She might be brainwashed, as her family insist, or she might be a committed fanatic, which is the impression she gave in her unapologetic statement to The Times. She might be somewhere in between. Only Begum knows what horrors she has suffered, witnessed, and perpetrated. She has experienced the deaths of two children, and was very likely mistreated under a brutal regime that regards women as property. Then again, we know that she did her research, and ISIS makes no effort to conceal the outrages it commits against those it regards as infidels—in fact, it uses the footage as propaganda.

Begum left for Syria after perhaps the worst atrocity committed by ISIS, the Sinjar massacre, in which thousands of Yazidi people were murdered in a matter of days, with many more forced into sexual slavery. Surely she must have known? “Half victim, half accomplice, like everyone else,” to use Simone de Beauvoir’s phrase. The trouble is, some people are rather further towards the accomplice end of the spectrum.

There has been a furious debate in the British media over exactly how culpable Begum and her fellow “ISIS brides” really are. The word “grooming” has been used frequently to describe the process by which the girls were indoctrinated into Jihadist ideology online. Some on the Left have argued that the girls’ youth made them helplessly vulnerable to ISIS recruiters and they have been compared with the victims of the many child sex abuse rings that have operated in the U.K. in recent decades. It is true that the Bethnal Green girls were subjected to a very deliberate campaign of online manipulation. Like the girls groomed by sexual abuse gangs, they were lied to, flattered, offered gifts, and made to feel part of a community. Of course youth is a factor in this—naïve teenagers are all too easily misled by charismatic adults.

But there are some fundamental differences between what is done to sexually abused girls and what Begum experienced. The two processes may begin similarly, but in grooming gangs emotional manipulation very quickly progresses to rape, torture, and threats of murder. Whatever may have happened to Begum after she arrived in ISIS territories, there is no suggestion that she experienced any kind of physical coercion before she got on that plane. What’s more—and this is crucial—the victims of grooming gangs do not seek out violence in any way. They’re fooled into thinking that the men abusing them are their loving boyfriends so that even when they commit unspeakable acts against them, the girls are so psychologically broken that they remain loyal. These children go looking for love, but find themselves in hell. 

That’s not true of Begum, or of any of the other young Westerners who have travelled to Syria to join ISIS. They went looking for war. It is pure nonsense to suggest that the Bethnal Green girls didn’t know that ISIS were a violent terrorist organization. They might not have known quite how obscene that violence could be, and they might not have appreciated that once in Syria it would be almost impossible for them to return home. But they knew enough. They have to bear some responsibility for what they participated in, but we also have to remember that they were children when they made the worst decision of their lives. These aren’t simple moral questions—we need to see this issue in shades of grey.

And yet, at each end of the political spectrum, the question of culpability is treated as if it were simple. On both the Left and Right, identity politics warps the debate, particularly on the question of terrorism. In fact, there is a neat symmetry to it. When a white man commits an act of terrorism, the Right wing media are quick to attribute his actions to either mental illness or legitimate grievances. When a non-white man is the perpetrator, the Left wing media do the same. There’s a Family Guy meme that often gets shared in Lefty social media circles in the wake of any atrocity committed by someone white. It shows a police officer holding up a colour chart in which the darker skin tones are labelled “terrorist” and the lighter ones “Mentally ill.” The tragedy is that so many on the Left adopt exactly the same approach, only with the labels reversed. Both political tribes draw a crude link between guilt and skin color, regardless of the circumstances of the case.

The Left are particularly prone to insisting that a terrorist was “radicalized” by another person, who must have been radicalized by someone else, who was radicalized in their turn, and so on down the line. Is there ever an ur-Jihadi, who radicalized themselves, or is it passive vulnerability all the way down? Much of the reporting on Begum has represented her as an innocent, totally unaware of the gravity of what she has done. The assumption seems to be that because she’s a young woman with dark skin, she couldn’t possibly have set out to do harm. Well, women can and do commit terrible acts. So do people of color. All human beings are moral agents, capable of both good and evil. As so often in Leftist discourse, there is the whiff of the soft bigotry of low expectations. To my mind, holding Begum to a lower moral standard because of her sex and race is the epitome of both sexism and racism.

The Right share the same tendency towards excusing wrongdoers when it’s politically convenient to do so. In their case, it’s often the bright young students and wholesome family men who get let off lightly when they commit terrible crimes. Such men are described in headlines as “brilliant, athletic,” a “devoted Mormon,” a “straight-A student,” or “soft-spoken, polite, a gentleman.” There is a noticeable disparity based on the race of the perpetrator. This, too, is a form of identity politics, although it isn’t always described as such. The criminals in these cases are given the gloss of respectability, not because of anything they’ve done, but because of their immutable characteristics. It is a sordid practice, whichever side indulges in it.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to Shamima Begum and her baby. I hope that she’s put on trial, whether here or in the Middle East. I also hope that her child survives and is given the opportunity to live a life not blighted by the sins of his mother. Maybe there is a chance that she might be rehabilitated, as a few other “ISIS brides” have been, although listening to her interview it’s hard to sustain much hope of this. If she is tried in the U.K., the court will recognize that when she left for Syria she was above the age of criminal responsibility, but also that her youth was a mitigating factor and that she was subject to manipulation by ISIS recruiters. That’s as it should be. The law recognizes shades of grey, even when political commentators refuse to. I hope that her race or sex will have no part to play in whether or not she is found guilty because, in a liberal democracy like ours, she should be judged for what she has done, not for who she is. Without fear or favor, affection or ill will.

Louise Perry is a freelance writer based in Oxford, U.K.


  1. Jason Cooper says

    So…you’re saying that, at the age of 15, the brain has developed enough for complete consequence cognition? …or are you saying that the age of legal culpability is 15?
    I’m a Centrist…I guess that implies my politics on this matter are ‘kids can do fucked up shit when parents are inattentive’.
    On another note…we should all feel safer with Jones, Milo and MacInnis deplatformed while ISIS and Antifa have free run. Wasn’t it just recently some 15 year old white male radically chugged 3 beers and belched ‘Get off My Lawn’ due to the seductive, inculcating and hypnotic Canadian Manson? …oh the humanity…

    • Evander says

      Let me help you out: “Of course youth is a factor in this—naïve teenagers are all too easily misled by charismatic adults.”

      The point is that Begum knowingly joined an organisation that perpetrated atrocities too sickening to detail. Her Islamic faith and ISIS’s vision sufficiently overlapped such that she enlisted herself.

      In any case, liberal British commentators involved in this ‘debate’ will apply an intersectional (“brown-woman-Muslim”) grid to their analysis and recommend a soft solution. It’s worth remembering that their transatlantic counterparts only a month ago tore an innocent “white-male-conservative” teenager apart for seeming to act disrespectfully towards a Native American. The current set of left-wing elites have zero moral consistency in my perspective. (Incidentally, Justin Fairfax is another case in point. Where’s the Kavanaugh-level outrage?)

      How about we judge her based on her actions – as the author argues – and not on her identity, taking youth into consideration? Justice must be done to protect the British people and deter this repugnant kind of crime.

      • Jason Cooper says

        So…despite the admission of her age being a factor, and several mentions regarding the mystery of her motivations and the apparently effective use of propaganda…she should be punished for unknown crimes she may have committed as a minor indoctrinated into a religious ideology that has shown an astounding propensity for churning out radicals that are mature, educated and experienced with secular society?
        I’ve always contended that ‘ideology’ is codified allowance of exceptions to principal. To me, a 15 year old is a 15 year old…what ‘team’ they play for is irrelevant…but, I’m not an ideologue.

        • Evander says

          “So…despite the admission of her age being a factor”.

          What do you mean admission? No one is avoiding the fact that she’s young; that’s part of the nuanced argument that her culpability is qualified.

          “To me, a 15 year old is a 15 year old.”

          Right, all 15 year olds have no moral agency. Joining ISIS was just one of those youthful misdemeanours – whoops! Moreover, you speak of mysterious motivations – obviously support for a caliphate – and then assume she’s an automaton with jihadi programming over which she had no control.

          “she should be punished for unknown crimes”

          She i) treasonously ii) aided and abetted a radical militant Islamist group that murdered, raped and terrorised tens of thousands of people. Yes, it’s a little bit difficult to get further specifics, but how about we start with the terrorism charges?

          • Jason Cooper says

            Ok…let’s start with the ‘terrorism charges’. I can see her now…knee deep in misogyny, being allowed to charge through the Kurdish resistance, AK in hand, belly swollen from one of her three pregnancies, likely malnourished, but it’s all good…she knew this was what she signed up for, because at 15, she had moral agency. Anyway Evander, I hope your fear of a teenage girl is someday tempered with a bit of compassion…it’ll be good for ya!

          • Evander says

            “Anyway Evander, I hope your fear of a teenage girl is someday tempered with a bit of compassion…it’ll be good for ya!”

            Just curious: how long do you normally last in an argument before you go into ad hom virtue mode?

            Stick to the point. Although she likely didn’t anticipate the suffering and depredations she would experience, she judged the terror and violence righteous and worthy of support and so volunteered herself as a spouse for a frontline fighter. On these grounds she should be charged.

            On your view would Begum be spared criminal prosecution? What if she were 17 at the time? What if we were talking about a young man involved in a black lynching, i.e. someone subject to white supremacist indoctrination?

            ‘Compassion’ in Begum’s instance would be gross injustice not only for the British public, but also for impressionable young people who would learn that you can join a death cult that beheads your countrymen – and then return with impunity when it inevitably falls apart.

            Proportionate punishment by the British state is the right outcome.

            Anyway, I hope your Feelz one day are tempered by some critical thinking – it will be good for all of us.

          • Jason Cooper says

            As I am quite capable of adjusting my perspective, after listening to the Times interview from the camp in Syria, my position is that she should not be allowed to return to the UK. This also means she would not receive punishment, but still has to suffer consequence.
            Now…the ‘ad hominem’ wasn’t an attack on your character…more a wee jab, as I don’t really get as heated as many people tend to in online forums, so my apologies if you were offended.
            I do not back off on the relevant, and scientifically valid stance that the human brain has not yet developed full capacity for ‘critical thinking’ at the age of 15.
            I do understand that you have a far different perspective of this issue as, I assume, you are a citizen of the UK, which very much has a malignant Left growth in your governance and media, which I admit, may form a harder line of opinion from me were I you.
            I will defer my opinion, IF she is to return, to that of Jacob Rees-Mogg on this. All the best…and I really hope the UK can sort itself out.

          • Evander says

            No harm done, Jason.

            FWIW, I’m an Australian citizen with patriotic concern for Britain.

            In 2015 an Islamist teenager (15 y.o.) gunned down a policeman in open daylight outside police headquarters in Parramatta, Sydney. He was killed in the firefight that immediately ensued. To be sure, the youth was put up to this and was supplied with the firearm, but I think he gave responsible consent within the framework of his belief system. Western youths are likewise capable of moral judgements within their own system of belief, their immature brains notwithstanding. Crimes are crimes and they need to be punished, all circumstances taken into consideration.

            I support repatriation and trial – though I’m happy to have my mind changed – largely on the basis that she is carrying an innocent child who doesn’t deserve to be punished via statelessness for the mother’s crime and left to languish in an unsafe setting; also, so as to set a deterrent example to would-be actors: you will face the majesty of justice. At the same time, I don’t like more people locked up on the taxpayers dime for this kind of thing, especially when they’re dangerous quantities and likely unreformable. I’m a bit torn.

            The elephant in the room is how belief of the kind that motivated Begum makes it way into the mind of teenagers. I don’t buy the talking point that young, ‘disaffected’ Muslim youths are ‘radicalised’ online without the knowledge and therefore intervention of family members or other people within their network. Walk into the average Anglican church any odd Sunday and you’ll likely hear woolly sermons on liberal themes. Ditto for most other Christian denominations. Other religious bodies will be promoting socially innocuous doctrine. I’m a conservative Anglican whose theology, mentality and values were shaped most profoundly by my experience in churches.

            We must pursue this uncomfortable line of inquiry: what are the mosques and madrasas actually teaching?

        • Erle S Bowman says

          We were all 15 years old at one time but how how old is she now?

          • @ Erle S Bowman

            I agree.

            Probably everybody I know has done something stupid when they were 15, but conversely I’ve never met anyone who considered running away to another country to join a terrorist group.

            Seriously this young woman has not done a bit of graffiti, or shoplifting or taken up smoking behind the bike sheds.

            She took up treason !

        • Angela says

          I know the legal system is generally softer in the UK, but in the US weve got way more than a few people doing hard time for stuff they did at 15.

          • Angela says

            15 isnt 12 is all I’m saying, and this was a girl who mature about a year faster on average than all the guys in prison for stuff they did at 15. In the US we trust you to able to drive on dangerous roads at 15.

          • Stephanie says

            Yes, a 15 year old girl is far more mature than a 15 year old boy. The amount of planning and discipline this required of her also demonstrates this wasn’t some youthful misadventure. Her faculties were clearly developed enough for her to be culpable for her actions.

      • bumble bee says


        I think her actions, if we even want to just include that aspect, is exactly the fact that she joined up with a terrorist organization that has committed heinous crimes against humanity. She was a willing partner, and gave aid and comfort to these barbarians. She has seen the evil that they have done, she chose to be a part of it, she did not stop them or give comfort to those caught in their web of atrocities. Her actions are exactly why she should not go back to her “country”.

        The liberals attempt at trying to turn this into a sob story, of trying to play the benevolent souls and hug out all the evil, all the murders, all the rapes, all the genocide is because they don’t have the ability to look evil in the face and say no thanks. In this case, she can stay where she is, learn that actions have consequences, and let her new adopted country deal with her.

    • Jason Cooper says

      Where I am ‘torn’ is in the apparent paradox.
      If Begum is morally culpable for her actions, despite probable grooming, in this case aided by the pre conditioning of a religious ideology, yet fit to be judged by a concept of ‘right and wrong’ that is already questionable based on the axiom of moral relativity, and extant in the current issue of irreconcilable cultural values, how can we form a solid ethical ground that does not impugn, for example, the minors victimized by the ‘Grooming Gangs’?
      …and please, understand, the equivocation is only based on the age of the victims, the assumption of moral cognition evenly applied, and that the psychological methodology applied to manipulate is just as effective on the vulnerable whether it is indoctrination or coercion.
      I am not quick to forget that if there is no road to redemption for those so young that it also sends a very clear message that, ironically, encourages a far more reckless and nihilistic radicalization…burned bridges, back to the wall, and all the stupid romantic notions around the ‘all or nothing’, ‘eat drink for tomorrow we die’ themes youth, especially youthful men, are drawn to like proverbial moths.

      • Evander says

        This debate hinges on how we reconcile the realities of socialisation and individual agency.

        Grooming and conditioning here are slippery concepts and might be tripping us up.

        Begum experienced Islamic socialisation and then made a decision, albeit with external urging, to adopt the most extreme form of Islam currently manifest – ISIS. She wasn’t responsible for being born into an Islamic community, or for the theological stripe of authority figures she might have encountered, but at some point a decision was made in favour of Islamism. Youth is a mitigating factor, but the choice to join ISIS must be punishable under law.

        Regarding the Rotheram girls: they consented, to an extent, to engage in friendship and then sexual relations initially with the (mostly) Pakistani men. A bad and misguided decision, but one they freely undertook. The difference is that those men then engaged in completely outrageous behaviour, such as rape, assault and the supply of drugs. In this scenario, the only inappropriate thing the girls did was initially associate with older guys of dubious character. The criminal conduct of the men wasn’t their fault.

        I disagree about your ‘no road to redemption’ approach. My view of justice is that it should mostly be punitive not rehabilitative. When people see that the act of allying yourself with war criminals will be met with swift justice, the law will work its effect in the community.

        My prediction for this is that there’ll be back and forth over what to do with her, while the more substantive issue of why Muslim-majority areas continue to produce people with the ambitions of Shamima Begum will be overlooked. That’s the root cause of the problem.

        • Jason Cooper says

          I agree that the root causes will be ignored.There has been little to nothing done after the BBC revealed Saudi funded Wahhabism being taught in Englands mosques, which begs the question of responsibility.
          The unfortunate reality of recidivism is that punitive sentencing is not effective, as a deterrent or reform measure. I’m not aware of any studies done on imprisoned radicals, but my guess would be it instills a ‘living martyr’ complex as opposed to a modest mouse humility.

      • Jay Salhi says

        “despite probable grooming”

        Where is the evidence of grooming? Do universities groom kids when they visit high schools and encourage them to attend? Does the military?

        She may have been recruited but how is that relevant?

    • jimhaz says

      The constant battle between individual rights and necessary decrease of same rights by being a member of an organised group.

      Sometimes the group has to set examples. It is not really about her misfortune and should not be. Many “willing accessory to murder” criminals had experienced similar pre-adult hardships that we don’t take in account to the degree it may be justified.

      One thing you notice about identity groups continually given leniency is that it ends up harming that group. As a public figure, letting her off lightly will harm other kids as a few will test just how much they can get away with….then a few more. I’ve seen the same thing in the business identity group often enough.

      She still has the mentality of a terrorist, so even though Islamic terrorism is declining, it is not at the point I feel it is in the public good to be lenient.

  2. ga gamba says

    Her crimes were committed in Syria and/or Iraq. Both these states deserve first crack at her. If tried, convicted, and sentenced there, she may be deported upon completion of her incarceration term. Then the Crown Prosecution Service may have its go with her.

    • Lightning Rose says

      That’s right–actions have consequences. Back in the day, the rudiments of that equation were imparted by our parents by the age where we began school.

      You choose to become an enemy combatant, you’ve made your bed–so go lie in it.

  3. Winston Smith says

    I wish the author had cited specific examples of left-leaning people excusing the behavior of terrorists. We are told the calls for leniency for this woman are part of a pattern and we’re just supposed to accept that?

    And what of the claims of the “symmetrical” responses of the right? Should we assume that the author is referring to mass shooters in the US? We don’t know because the author doesn’t reference specific events or quotes.

    How can the basic premise of the author’s article contain no specific examples as evidence? Shouldn’t an editor have caught that?

    • Matt K says

      Antifa is a pretty big example of the left excusing terrorists.

    • stevengregg says

      Lots of lefties made excuses for the Weathermen, Charles Manson, and Al Qaeda. I don’t know of any conservatives who think mass shooters have a legitimate grievance or are good people in any way.

    • Stephanie says

      Winston, I agree. That part of the article was vague and unsupported. I don’t know a single right-wing outlet that offers anything close to sympathy for white shooters. My disdain for the left aside, their excuse for terrorists (like Omar Khadr) tends to be when those terrorists are young or mistreated by the Americans. They are more sly in their support, accusing the right of having racialized opinions on the issue, blaming their own societies for the terrorist’s alienation, ect.

      It seems the author simply wanted to emphasize how reasoned and nonpartisan he is. Cheap tactic. The centrist tendency to strawman both sides to portray themselves as superior is super annoying.

  4. Morgan Foster says

    It is foolish to assume that because she decided she didn’t like her life with ISIS, she has now deradicalized herself, or made herself amenable to being deradicalized.

    Foolish to assume that she now loves the West, and would now tolerate the existence of Jews.

    Foolish to imagine that she is anything like an American teenager. She is not, never was, and never can be.

    She’s too dangerous to take back. It’s too risky. She should be handed over to country that can be relied upon to ensure that she never, ever, returns to the West.

    The West doesn’t have the courage to deal with her.

  5. Heike says

    Again with the Left’s sympathy for Islamic terrorists! What’s the deal? If they only had so much compassion for our own people, there wouldn’t be a populist revolt going on. But no, they reserve their emotions for those who are attempting to poison and destroy our culture.

    Tell her she can come back, but only if she doodles a picture of Mohammed before she does. In fact, apply this test to everyone who wants to visit civilized countries.

    • Lydia says

      “If they only had so much compassion for our own people, there wouldn’t be a populist revolt going on. But no, they reserve their emotions for those who are attempting to poison and destroy our culture.”

      This is my position. when do we start paying attention to and rewarding the average teenagers who are working towards responsibile adulthood. They cannot catch a break. Whether it’s at school with the PC culture or identity politics scholarships for college. At some point there’s going to be a backlash. A bigger one. Because common sense right and wrong doesn’t matter anymore depending on your skin color or religion.

  6. Jay Salhi says

    “If she did return to the U.K., she would also be a target for the far-right and would have to be protected by the British police for the rest of her life.”

    That’s an assumption (likely inaccurate) predicated on a false equivalence that the far right poses the same dangers as radical Islamists. The author repeats this pattern of false equivalence throughout the article.

    • Lydia says

      It was a gratuitous moral equivalency line perhaps so as not to be an outcast and targeted by the social media mob. It gets old. Would love to see some comparison analysis on her assertions.

    • Stephanie says

      This was the country that refused to take Asia Bibi because they knew she would be in danger there, and could not guarantee her safety. The author wants the UK to expend the resources to protect an ISIS member when they wouldn’t do the same to a victim of religious persecution? That’s disgusting.

      • bumble bee says

        What is disgusting is that they will protect a known terrorist who has at the very least participated by action or association in the genocide and mass murders of people. I guess the liberal hierarchy of victimization has a new capstone.

  7. Sydney says

    Canada has at least one of these dangerous morons over there. I just saw CTV News deliver a soft and sympathetic report from a camp in Syria where one “ISIS bride” lives with her new brood from two dead terrorist husbands. “I didn’t do nothing,” she said. (I expect the Liberal Party News Channel, CBC, is preparing to fly her to Calgary in first class.)

    Facts say differently. These monster wives helped the ISIS Islamic State in multiple and horrific ways, which is why most Canadians don’t wish to reward them with tax dollars and a ‘welcome home’ banner. They made heinous choices as legal adults and can stay there, period.

  8. She doesn't belong in the UK says

    If she was a man, there is zero chance in hell this would even be a story. It’s absurd that anyone thinks she should be allowed back into the UK. She’s a radical terrorist who would never have tried to come back if her caliphate didn’t run out of money. Get a grip people.

    • D.B. Cooper says

      I would agree. All else being equal, I think it’s more likely than not that if she were a man, she wouldn’t be allowed back into the UK. Of course, the level of sympathy she’s received could just as likely be a function of her child as much as it is her being female (is that a tautology?).

      Just to be clear though, I’m not necessarily opposed to chivalry as a matter of principle. I, myself, am all too happy to regularly open doors for my wife, carry her heavy bags, or sweep the house when she hears a bump-in-the-night. Forgive me, if my Southern naivete induces a vomiting spasm on your behalf, but I find there’s something unseemly about a man who willingly sends his wife to do the heavy lifting, so to speak. For reasons not entirely clear to me, such men seem strangely overrepresented in progressive circles. But that’s neither here nor there.

      In any case, I take your point. Once you cross into ‘aiding and abetting terrorist organizations’ territory, all mitigating considerations are pretty much null and void. My sympathies for the kid notwithstanding, it would be a perversion of good sense to allow her to return. In truth, she’s lucky to be from the UK. If she’d been a citizen of the U.S. her chances of return would’ve likely been a little less certain, considering our last president – the constitutional law scholar, Barack Obama – seemed to have no qualms about violating the 5th and 6th Amendments (Bill of Rights) of Muslim American terrorists as evidenced by one, Anwar al-Aulaqi. And they say Trump is a bigot, pssh.

  9. Andrew Worth says

    Would anyone like to list her crimes under British law?

        • Andrew Worth says

          “Lets start with aiding a terrorist organization.”
          There’s provisions for that to be a prosecutable crime in the US, but I haven’t found anything similar under UK law, as far as I have found it isn’t illegal to be a member of a terrorist organization under British law.

          The most likely legislation to prosecute her under would be those covering high treason, but that’s such a can of worms with numerous pieces of legislation going back 700 years I wouldn’t know where to start in working out what was applicable and what penalties now apply.

          • It is illegal to be a member of a terrorist organization under British law. The Brits used it to lock up members of the IRA.

      • Lydia says

        I don’t know British law. What is the law when it comes to helping terrorists. Is your country at war with ISIS? What would have happened to a 15 year old girl who left England to help the Nazi’s. Is there a Mitford example? Lol.

        • Andrew Worth says

          “Is there a Mitford example?”
          The legislation used in that case was Defence Regulation 18B, I’m not sure if that’s still on the books, references to it that I has found refer to it in the past tense, those detained under 18B were all released when WW2 ended.

          • Andrew Worth says

            I’d find it amusing if, after all the bluster, UK legislation doesn’t even have provisions to prosecute her, maybe that’s why Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been talking tough, threatening to strip Begum of her British citizenship and prevent her returning, he’s worked out there’s a hole in the legislation. UK law tends to focus on prosecution for actual crime (things like murder, or conspiracy to commit a specific crime) and these days stupid “hate” speech offences, Begum hasn’t been accused of murdering anyone (certainly not in the UK) and I haven’t heard her giving any hate rants.

          • Stephanie says

            Andrew, it seems she has now been stripped of her citizenship.

            It sounds like the UK is way overdue on enacting legislation to take the threat of Islamic extremism seriously. They need to outlaw travel to terrorism-ridden countries, participation or intention to participate in an Islamist organisation, expression of support for Islamic terrorist organisations or attacks, ect. Each of these should be considered high treason, punishable by deportation, solitary confinement, or execution. Mosques, Islamic community centres, and organisations should be under close surveillance.

            The UK and all the West are at war with an enemy far more insidious than the Nazis, and no less evil. If we chose not only to ignore it, but to give it material support through continued Islamic immigration, our society is committing suicide.

    • ga gamba says

      Look here, we don’t take kindly to collaborating with the enemy. In 1805 the good people of Hartlepool captured, tried, and hanged a French spy during the Napoleonic Wars. Yes, this Frenchman was a monkey, but that’s beside the point because it was an espionage perpetrating monkey, and the people then didn’t know what monkeys were. Justice had to be served.

      So, if we can pin espionage on a monkey, be assured there are some crimes we can pin on that girl.

  10. Frustrated from the sidelines says

    As a Canadian I despair at the thought of these people returning to Canada. We have an naive and inept prime minister who changed the previous government’s law that would have removed citizenship for terrorists. His mantra is “a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian”.

    Political correctness has run amok for a long time in the West. The reality is that fear of being cast as racists has neutered many western governments into not taking action against radical Islam. There are areas in some major European cities where it could be a foreign land, where many residents do not speak the language of the country, where they feel no allegiance to the country.

    I suspect many of these captives like the woman in the article would still happily be in ISIS controlled territory if ISIS still held their territory. Now it’s gone badly they want to go to their comfortable western life to enjoy free medical care, welfare and education.

    I am always baffled by left leaning women who defend Islam with its treatment of women as property of men. I really wish they would go to a conservative muslim enclave in a major western city and spent at least a few days walking around there in western attire and see how they are treated.

  11. Nicholas says

    I can’t help but feel, to paraphrase Nixon: ‘we are all identitarians now’ if even Quillette is descibing a person’s inate and imutable characteristics as “who they are”, rather than insisting their character, decisions, and actions are what defines them as a person irrespective of their position on an intersectionality chart.

    • Lydia says

      That harkens back to the Augustinian concept of dualism. Who we are is not the same as what we do. I have never been able to accept it.

      • It is good that this media platform is here. We all are doing our best to truly understand the situation and circumstances these problems truly are.
        There’s nothing doubting that merchants and business owners feel strained in the precarious atmosphere of who is and who is not trustworthy.

        Yes 15 year olds make poor decisions. The brain is not wired for cause and effect yet. When you add in brainwashing, the person who returns needs several years to be unbrainwashed. Yes, terrorism is tragic and horror has no definition in these situations.

        We should use our minds and lives to improve the planet we all live upon, not for mass murder of humans. The Dark Ages should be the perfect reminder of conquest disaster.

  12. Despite the headlines using the term “ISIS bride” every chance they can to strip her of her individuality and agency as a human being, she is in fact a person who joined a terrorist group as a child.

    Her age is definitely a factor. The fact that she (presumably) didn’t personally commit violence is a factor as well. But the fact that she married someone else in the terrorist organization that she voluntarily became a part of is completely irrelevant.

    She had her own ideals. Exceptionally misguided ones, filtered through the mind of a teenager, but they’re still there.

    A young boy who wanted to marry a girl affiliated with ISIS would be called an ISIS member, not an ISIS husband.

    Call this young woman the same.

    • That’s what I was thinking. I can’t help but contrast this with the example of Anwar al-Awlaki, a male American citizen who went abroad to fight with al Qaida some years ago. Barrack Obama, a liberal to his bootstraps, decided to respond by killing him with a Hellfire missile – and then for good measure, they killed his 16 year old brother that had made the bad decision of following him there.

      If you do decide to throw yourself at the mercy of the state that you have spent the last eight years waging jihad against, its a good idea to be female.

    • Jay Salhi says

      Very good point.

      She joined ISIS. Once you join ISIS, they give you a job. Her job was to provide sexual comfort to one of ISIS’ foot soldiers. Without the women willing to sign up, ISIS would have had more difficulty attracting male recruits to slit the throats of infidels.

      If you knowingly join a gang of bank robbers, you are not less morally culpable if they decide to make you the driver of the get away car rather than one of the guys holding a gun.

  13. “When a white man commits an act of terrorism, the Right wing media are quick to attribute his actions to either mental illness or legitimate grievances. When a non-white man is the perpetrator, the Left wing media do the same. ”

    I don’t think this crude identitiy politics is correct at least not in Britaian, not yet. When any man commits an act of terrorism or any other serious act of violence then there is almost universal condemnation. The more violent and outrageous the act the harder it is for people to understand the thinking behind it and there is often lanaguage related to mental illness such as ‘crazy’, ‘insane’. Some acts by lone individuals often at the bottom end of the scale actually do turn out to be committed by mentally disturbed individuals in which case after a few days this is announced.

    The reaction of the left and right wing does differ depending on the motivations of the terrorist. I fthey are a right wing racist or homophobe then the left wing media often claim that the mainstream right wing have contribute dto an environment in which this could happen. I fit is Islamic relate dthen th eright wing media will use it to criticise anyone on teh left who has not takne a hard line position against islamic terrorism/countries as contributing. This is just political opportunism on both sides.

    On the case in question in line with the author of the article what is critically important is that due process is followed. The girl should be allowe dinto teh country investigated and if appropriate punishsed. Her citizenship should certainly not be stripped from her unless there is a legal process in which she is represented and can be heard.

    One of the worrying things in modern politics is that there are calls and actual actions from left and right wing to reduce due process. The most obvious and successful calls are nothing to do with race but sex. The call to believe ‘the victim’ is a direct attack on due process and ther eis a slow incremental process of reducing what evidence can be introduced in defence and increasing what can be used by the prosecution.

    Due process matters and shoudl be defended for everyone man, woman, black or white.

    • stevengregg says

      AJ: “The reaction of the left and right wing does differ depending on the motivations of the terrorist. … I fit is Islamic relate dthen th eright wing media will use it to criticise anyone on teh left who has not takne a hard line position against islamic terrorism/countries as contributing. This is just political opportunism on both sides.”

      This is not so. The Left supports attacks on the West by Islamic countries. I lived in Austin, TX during the Sep 11 attacks, which were perpetrated on a Tuesday. The next Saturday, the first protester showed up in front of the capitol, wrapped in a bedsheet. We did not know who hit us yet, but he was for them, adamantly claiming that we deserved it, whoever they were. Every Saturday after that, more and more lefty protesters showed up, saying the same thing.

      When a judge at his trial asked Zacarias Moussaoui, the twenty hijacker, why he would attack the US, he replied that America should not be the superpower. Islam should be the superpower.

      So, the lefties approve and support Muslims murdering people en masse to promote their Islam. In short, they support murderous religious bigotry. Both Muslims and lefties want to destroy America, the superpower.

      • jolly swag, man says

        Yes, and it was the same during the Cold War – lefties either outright supported the USSR or white-anted the West from within.
        Then, when it was all over and the USSR finally collapsed, its rotted-out foundations of Marxist ideology no longer able to support it, they scuttled away like roaches into the institutions they had come to infest and made like it had never happened, that they were not the traitors and quislings they undoubtedly were. There they stayed, never answering for their treachery and betrayal, bidding their time. Now another enemy of the West has emerged in Islam (not for the first time) and, once again, they have emerged to backstab, betray and moral equivocate for the enemy.

    • Stephanie says

      AJ, enemy combatants in a warzone or former warzone should be considered to have forfeited their citizenship. Their mere existence there is sufficient evidence of their culpability. If no process for this exists, a process should be made. Representation is burdensome and unnecessary when the foreign agent is on foreign soil.

      We also ought to generate a process where the families of such people can be investigated, tried, and if they have any Islamist inclinations, also stripped of citizenship and deported.

      We must always respect due process, but we must also have effective processes for dealing with enemy combatants and their sympathisers. After all, if we were to respect due process, those committing treason would be hanged.

      • If the west had never let these people in, we wouldn’t have to debate what to do with them when they turn on us.

  14. The difference between an ISIS member and the garden variety Muslim, is that the ISIS member actually read the Koran and understood it.
    Had ISIS promised a land of “milk and honey” and lured their recruits under false pretexts, I would understand Begum’s position. However when Begum left the UK, ISIS was proudly executing people and posting it on Youtube and advocating the sex enslavement of infidel women. That was their pitch.
    Now, the UK has laws and the rule of secular law must be followed. But if there’s a chance of stripping her of British citizenship, if that’s legal I hope the government does it. The wider society must be protected from predators. She was very young then, however she’s a danger to us all.
    Law must be followed and obeyed.
    However I wished we in Europe had a law that allowed to hang them by the neck and leave their rotting bodies on display at the arrivals in the airports. That would be a law that I would endorse.

  15. chris says

    I wonder why the author neglects to mention that her father was videoed yelling his head off at Choudhary jihadi street protests in London – the very worst of them – and his teddy-clutching interview in which he blathered about his innocent girl was a crock. A BBC interview, obviously. IIRC. A nest of vipers, the lot of them – sentimental, stupid and brutal – and adding to the long long list of alien cultural problems we just didn’t need.

    • Jay Salhi says

      Are you perhaps confusing her father with the father of one of the other two girls who traveled with her? This is a question not a statement.

      • chris says

        Maybe, but a difference without a distinction? I did just try to find the teddy clutching interview but found a recent one – not sure how the names work – “Abase Hussen says he regrets taking his daughter to a rally for the banned Islamist terror group Al-Muhajiroun”. So…
        And then remember that Laurie Penny is a communist which means we all should be wards of the state. So all the fostering of the baby and lifetime surveillance is no extra burden for her vision of Britain.

  16. More than a hundred dutch ISIS brides, with their babies or toddlers, are kept in Kurdish camps in the area. The Kurdish repeatedly asked the Dutch to take them back and judge them in their own country. The Dutch have not reacted yet, don’t know what to do. I don’t understand the reactions, many seem to see the total evil in these kids, following an old Zorastric theme, the Good and the Evil, as separate, abstract entities. I just see kids that want to play hide and seek, but maybe traumatized (or not, kids can have a lot and are not as quickly frightened as their parents and us). I wonder what finally will happen with the poor kids.
    I hope they come home to their grandparents, and get the proper care, to forget the horrors.

    • stevengregg says

      Meanwhile, covert French agents are actively hunting French ISIS members and quietly killing them. That’s an excellent solution. The French would rather fight them in Syria than in France.

      • @Steven: our head of state Mark Rutte about this: they better can be killed there, then come back. The problem of course is, many survived, and are now considering to come back, even where they have to confront trial, but by whom??Tstjo delat?? That’s the problem now!

    • Zoroastric, of course it is. Teaching of Zaraustra, Nietzsche’s hero!

  17. E. Olson says

    Is one of those mentally ill “right wing terrorists” that the author is referencing Tommy Robinson, who was arrested and thrown in jail without trial for “violently” videotaped Muslim rapists going into a court building?

    In Sweden the welfare state welcomes back ISIS terrorists with open arms, fails to prosecute Muslim rapists because rape is a part of their culture, but puts the full weight of the law against Swedish senior citizens who dare write a message on social media saying something “hateful” against Muslim “immigrants” or Swedish government policies towards Muslim “immigrants” (see link).


    • Ray Andrews says

      @E. Olson

      In Sweden, all you need is love. It seems like a shame to me but it’s their business if the Swedes want to commit suicide. I hope that Sweden becomes a caliphate quickly so that there might yet be time for other European countries to have second thoughts whether they want to do the same.

      • E. Olson says

        Ray – you are somewhat correct. On the other hand, it is not clear that most Swedes actually want to commit cultural suicide, but all the major political parties, all the mainstream media, and the police are colluding to hide the facts about immigrants from the public. Crime statistics no longer report the ethnicity of perpetrators, the high welfare costs and low employment of immigrants are hidden and kept out of the media, and citizens are being asked to spy on their neighbors and report any “anti-immigrant” discussions so that they can be arrested and fined for hate crimes. Thus it becomes difficult for citizens to make informed decision on immigration when it become illegal to speak your mind, information about failure to assimilate and high crime and welfare costs are hidden, and virtually all the political parties are pro-immigration (except for one party that is dishonestly portrayed in the media as Nazi), but that is exactly what is happening in Sweden.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @E. Olson

          Right. I shouldn’t say that Sweden wants to commit suicide, rather that the Swedish branch of the global homogenist elite are happy to do their duty and the majority of Swedes have allowed themselves to be duped into going along with it. One wouldn’t want to be a Hater.

    • Tommy Robinson was rightly jailed for contempt of court.

      In Britain, I think sensibly, there are reporting restrictions to prevent the result of trials being affected by reports which necessarily will be incomplete, emotive and do not allow a right of reply or rebuttal. Tommy Robinson violated this by video taping and publishing details of a trial. He was prosecuted for that. He acknowledged what he had done and undertook in court not to repeat his actions. In return he was given a suspended sentance rather than jailed.

      He then repeated his actions by videotaping defendants arriving at court while describing what they had been alleged to have done. He was accordingly prosecuted again and his suspended sentance reactivated. He then appealed this decision and won the right to be reheard based on procedural grounds basically that the judge had no need to take immediate action in jailing him but could have proceeed in the ordinary way.

      What we have therefore is someone who broke the law, was not jailed and undertook not to break the law again, repeated his actions in doing so breaking his undertaking and was jailed, was given an appeal based on prcoedural not factual grounds, which he won and is awaiting retrial but is in the interim a free man.

      Tommy Robinson has been treated fairly with due process. I think the reporting restrictions during a trial are a sensible protection for those accused but even if you disagree breaking an undertaking given to a judge should result in sanctions.

      None of his treatment is because he was filming muslims but because be repeatedly broke laws intended to ensure a fair trial. It is also quite clear that he acted as he did precisely to ensure that he was arrested so he could claim to be a victim and that there was some sort of racist policy to protect muslims. No one should have any sympathy for him.

      • E. Olson says

        Yes I saw the arrest that took about half of the London police force to arrest one man with a video camera, but where were the police when all that diversity was raping young girls for years? Videotaper or Rapists – where should be put police resources?

      • Stephanie says

        AJ, whichever news outlet fed you that narrative, stop consuming it, because they are lying to you. Tommy Robinson was reading a previously published BBC article about the case, no new information was presented. It is not illegal to report outside of a courthouse: as everyone knows, it is quite common.

        I suggest you take another look at his case from a broader perspective than the MSM-government complex.

      • ga gamba says

        So, instead of sequestering the jury, which is feasible, the legal system has sequestered the entire nation. Good thing foreign newspapers comply too, and just in case they don’t no one in Britain can access a foreign-based newspaper anyway. Such technology doesn’t exist.

        The authorities sure know what’s practical.

  18. Stephen Phillips says

    I will say here what I’ve said elsewhere; if the author or others are concerned for her and the baby, noone is stopping them from selling a few items and buying a ticket to go and help her.
    Just dont expect us to do the same through our taxes.

  19. MeanAsCustard says

    Joseph Harker is a professional race hustler who writes for the Guardian, in case you were in any doubt. As to his point, arguably Begrum should indeed have been “saved” – from herself by detaining her before she left for Syria. Too late for that now. I think you could make a case that she has conspired to commit acts of terror in the UK given that ISIL has claimed responisibility for several acts of terror and she has given material aid to that organisation. If she returns then hopefully gaol awaits her.

  20. Charlie says

    It was illegal to join the SS. British POW who joined the SS were punished. Fifteen year olds fought for the resistance read ” Gardens of stone ” by Stephen Grady . A seventeen year old midshipmen won the DSC at Dunkirk. A Fifteen year old girl won the George Medal for bravery during the Blitz. Sixteen year old boys, even fourteen and fifteen year old boys served in the Merchant Navy in WW2.

    If a fifteen year old girl has the presence of mind to earn a George Medal in the Blitz, then Begum should be punished for joining an organisation which has undertaken acts of cruelty equal to the SS. She should be outlawed; deprived of the protection of the society which she wished to destroy. Begum should be forced to stay in Syria and plead for mercy from those she has persecuted and if her kismet is to survive, she will..

    When T E Lawrence turned back to find the Badu when crossing the desert, his kismet was to live. Amongst the Badu, the traveller is given 3 days refuge in the tents but they are not allowed to turn against their host.

    • chris says

      Outlawry is going a bit far, it implies a person is fair game for any treatment – but state ostracism would be something I could get behind. It requires a pretty comprehensive surveillance state, so I should be careful what I wish for, but that seems what we’re heading towards anyhow.

      • Charlie says

        Why should tax payers have to contribute to surveillance? Let the people of Syria decide her fate. She will depend upon welfare to survive in the UK. ISIS has £300m,let them pay for her to live in Syria. To provide for those who wish to kill one is masochism.

        • E. Olson says

          Charlie – don’t be so sure the the UK isn’t sending her welfare benefits to Syria. After all she is a citizen, and there is no reason she shouldn’t get the benefits she is owed just because she is chopping off heads in a foreign country.

          • She is not chopping off heads herself, Olson, she was not frightened by a chopped off head somewhere, and that’s something else. BTW, I wonder, is such insensitive behaviour against the law? And, what is the influence of these chopped off heads on her children? I wonder again, but, knowing small children a little bit, I fear, scarcely frightening at all. Whatever they see or experience around, has to be absorbed, and digested, only where you are a civilised adult, things become different!

          • Charlie says

            The welfare state was created to provide support for the poor who fought in WW1, not for those who fought against us.

  21. sorethumb says

    “She is a U.K. citizen and this is how we do things here—or should. “Without fear or favour, affection or ill will” in the words of the Judicial Oath that all our judges have to swear. This is a principle worth defending, even (or perhaps especially) when vengeance might be more satisfying. ”
    Only for the deserving. The nation is an imagined community. Well poisiners should be allowed to leave and have the door shut on them.

  22. Anonymous says

    “She should be protected from violence, and the public should also be protected from her. She is a U.K. citizen and this is how we do things here—or should. ”

    OK, fine – but maybe the countless number of similar cases should make citizens of Western countries stop and think about whether they should require HIGHER STANDARDS of potential immigrants than simply having a pulse ?

    Looking at their national origin ? Belief systems ? education ? religion ? Economic viability ? Health ? school and employment record ? Do they possess the same values as the country they want to immigrate to ? Do they think the Koran supersedes the ( US Constitution, or whatever the British equivalent of that is, etc.)

    • E. Olson says

      Anonymous – don’t you know that diversity is a strength? Your proposal sounds racist and Islamphobic, and I suppose you also expect that immigrants should be economically self-sufficient and actually pay taxes to the government they hate? Why don’t you check you privilege?

    • Wentworth Horton says

      You’re right, or at least allow the conversation. So many apparently unsolvable contrasts are so because there’s no agreement on the existence of an underlying foundation on which to base compromise. There’s a difference between equivocation, of which that article is a prime example, and exploring where either side might have a foot, or both, off the foundation.

  23. Lydia says

    I haven’t seen a lot of right wing white men getting off scot-free for anyting these days. Some actual examples would have helped me with what I might have missed.

    “As so often in Leftist discourse, there is the whiff of the soft bigotry of low expectations. To my mind, holding Begum to a lower moral standard because of her sex and race is the epitome of both sexism and racism.”

    However I have seen a ton of this.

    My compassion meter is totally full when it comes to these sorts of situations. The consequences of making horrible decisions are what they are. My compassion meter is not full for people who are victims of what she helped. I was stupid at 15 but not that stupid.

    • Space Viking says

      Gotta say, I’m drawing a blank on the “right wing media do it too” bit.

  24. Matt Disen says

    She’s not responsible for her actions, but she needs to be held accountable nonetheless, and public health upheld.

  25. Ray Andrews says

    Let me make a parallel: It’s WWII, an English lad leaves for Germany after much planning and joins the SS with the intention of making war on England. He is careful to join the SS, not the Wehrmach, because the SS have no hesitation to commit atrocities. He is found in a POW camp after the war and he announces that he wants to come home. However he is very clear about the fact that he has not changed his political views. He still supports Hitler, is still a Nazi, still want’s to destroy England, and repents of none of the crimes he may have committed during the war.

    After much wringing of hands and holding of our heads, what do we do?

    Just kidding about the wringing of hands. Here’s what we do: We give the lad a trial to determine the facts of the case, but given that he confesses to everything, the trial will likely be rather short. Then we tie him to a pole and shoot him.

    • E. Olson says

      Good historical analogy Ray, but the current situation is actually worse. The UK provides a safe and prosperous new home for Begum’s family, probably gives them low income housing and other “free” government services, plus unheard of political freedom and gender equality, and still she runs off to join ISIS, a group that is an avowed enemy of the UK. In contrast, Hitler never wanted to fight the British, actually offered peace terms during the Battle of Britain, and saw them as potential allies against Communist Russia, which was a view fairly widely shared within the UK (the Duke of Windsor was a Nazi sympathizer). Thus your WWII Brit was likely joining the SS to kill commies and not Brits, and was also unlikely to have ever received welfare from the UK taxpayer to pay his travel expenses since the welfare state wasn’t created until after the war, but nevertheless he most certainly would have been executed for treason all the same. Begum likely used her UK welfare money to buy a ticket to Syria and support herself in terrorist activities, and now wants the UK taxpayer to bring her “home” at their expense, where she will no doubt get at most a slap on the hand because to do otherwise would be racist or some such nonsense.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        Yup. the purpose of the parallel was only to point out that when the traitor is a mere white guy and his treachery does not involve some protected Identity (female Muslim) the fact that the guy will be shot bothers no one. And were he to have done something as unspeakable as, say, look at a picture of Meghan M. and say “not bad”, capital punishment would be too good for him even if mere treason might be overlooked.

        One might think that eventually the lead hits the bottom but we just keep sinking.

  26. McFly says

    It seems to me that this author is confused about the simple fact that “terrorism” is a specific category of criminal behavior, with a specific definition that distinguishes it from other unspeakably monstrous acts. This is not trivial.

    Cute as it was, the reference to a Family Guy meme is totally inappropriate in the context of serious discourse.

    I would like the author to review the historical record and find instances where “Right Wing” media, commentators, or citizens tried to gloss over anything John Walker Lindh was accused of, or any measure of hesitation whatsoever to call him a “terrorist.” This would go a long way towards lending credibility to certain claims made in the piece above.

    All in all, I’m not so sure why this piece was submitted for publication, as I can’t find any real purpose in it beyond what might be considered a mildly interesting entry in the author’s private diaries…

  27. Cluebat says

    As an Enemy of the State she should ideally stripped of citizenship.
    She will always be a threat. She will join the domestic jihadi movement and indoctrinate her child. Possibly even commit or support an attack against innocent civilians.
    She made her bed.

    • Where she admits to totally agree with chopping off heads of the enemy or infidels, this would make it legally easy to take away her kids and look for an adoption family to raise them. This might be more difficult for the 70 or so dutch kids in kurdish camps, if allowed to return, where mom admits guilt and says to feel shame of her steps and behaviour.

  28. Kencathedrus says

    Luckily she wasn’t wearing a red MAGA cap. That’s a truly unforgivable offense.

  29. david of Kirkland says

    Everyone is responsible for their choices, but you seem to want to punish her forever for the bad decision made while just 15 years old (as if that’s a well established age of reason or something).
    Forgive; move forward. If she’s still a criminal in behavior, then have at her.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @david of Kirkland

      I myself would not think of it as punishing forever as taking her at her word that she is still a jihadi and is thus a danger. I would ask her if she still believes that Allah commands her to make the entire world a caliphate and to exterminate all infidels. If she answers ‘yes’, then I would leave her in Allah’s capable hands. Her fate is, after all, preordained, so nothing can happen to her that is not Allah’s will. Why interfere with God?

    • I see several comments noting she was 15 when she joined so should be given some leniency. I would agree if she had realized after a few weeks or a couple of months that she had made a mistake and fled back the UK .

      However, she stayed until she was 19 and noted in her interview that she happy there. So as an 18 and 19 year old, she was happy to stay there. At 18 you are an adult. She also saw Severed heads and was unfazed by it. This is not someone who had a romantic notion of what was going on as she had lived there for a few years.

      She should be judged as an adult who made the decision to be part of ISIS.

      • I read in these comments repeatedly the words ” own decision”, that sounds as if this girl (who knows what education she had, and what kind of friends ?) was deciding to have a certain job, vacation or course. I think it quite possible that in no stage she was consciously deciding to join ISIS, she went with friends to Turkey, what did she do there?, and whom did she speak??, or get influenced by?,forced to? then she went, in a group, to Syria, who talked her into that? Did she ever consider to go back, or was she ashamed? I can’t believe this girl was a martyr or ideologist or wahabbist. She might be of course, but very many that went did that not for ideological reasons, but out of solidarity or deeply felt dissatisfaction .

    • Stephanie says

      The decision she made when she was 15 involved months of careful planning, with a wide-eyed view of what ISIS was. It wasn’t some spontaneous act of teenage stupidity. She also chose to stay and provide support to them for years afterwards.

      This wasn’t one stupid decision. It was a series of premeditated decisions in line with her values over the course of years.

      Besides, she is not being “punished.” Her citizenship has been revoked, so she can now stay in the society most aligned with her values, free of the oppressive infidels she sought to destroy.

  30. Constantin says

    What is being largely missed in this whole debate over the relative culpability of children is the stark utilitarianism of a declared enemy of Britain in trying to use it for selfish purposes. The real question is not about values but resources. How many indoctrinated Jihadis can the British state supervise and protect without going bankrupt or collapsing. We could start the conversation with a firm number put on the said “commitment” to some vaguely described “values”. Our fathers ran a much tighter ship and did not waste resources as liberally as some of us (particularly the irresponsible political Left) are disposed to do without regard for either cost or sustainability. It was pragmatic and cost effective to shoot traitors without much fuss. We are invited to absorb that enormous cost while also receive the comfort that we are “better than this” (which is an euphemism for “we should not concern ourselves of cost if it is for a good cause”). For the Britons reading this, keep in mind the following: your state will never admit being too short on resources and will skimp on the supervision/protection gig leaving you to taste the full joy of your principled generosity.
    Jihadi mama is coming home, whether you want it or not. You are still doing better than us, in Canada, because you do not have left wing lunatics leading your country yet. If she was coming home to Canada, Shamima would be trusted by the government to lead the “deradicalization” programs aimed at 15 year olds, on the bizarre notion that she could relate with their condition much more closely and directly. Under that theory, she would also be a nearly ideal guardian for her yet unborn child because no one in Britain would be better qualified to protect that child from radicalization. Count your blessings, keep calm and carry on!

  31. Jezza says

    @ Jorge and @Ray

    I understand those who are in favour of capital punishment but I have one reservation. If you make a mistake and kill an innocent person, you cannot correct your error. There are many instances of innocent people being executed (look them up – start with 10 Rillington Place) so I suggest the following: compile a list of people willing to actually terminate the life of another. Let them throw the switch or spring the trap or whatever. But, and it’s a big but, if the person they killed is later found to be innocent of the crime of which they were convicted, the executioner’s life shall be forfeit, and he (or she) shall be executed for the crime of killing an innocent person. This would encourage rigorous enquiry and stay the hand of any who doubt the court’s findings, while the rabid string-em-up crew will gradually become depleted because judicial error is inevitable. Then we can all get some sleep. This is such an elegant solution to a very difficult problem. Sometimes I am dazzled by my own brilliance.

    • Ray Andrews says


      Ok, but let’s fill in the gaps in your morality: Any judge who has the option of the death penalty in some case, but does not use it, should the criminal go on to commit another murder at some point in his career, the judge must die in penalty for the innocent life lost to a criminal that he could have stopped but didn’t. Fair?

      Or just to pursue your own logic further: any person involved in sentencing anyone to prison time, should the conviction be overturned, must spend the same amount of time in prison. Following your reasoning, we’d not only end up with no executions, we’d end up with no criminals being punished at all, yes? Good idea?

      I don’t think so myself. No matter the penalty, mistakes are going to occur. Every effort should be made to prevent that, and the Americans in particular do a shitty job. But note that if someone is executed unjustly we are all in a flap (as we should be) but if someone merely spends 40 years in some hell-hole jail knowing that they will never sleep under the stars again in their life, somehow we don’t get so worked up. In my view the latter is worse. If outrage over unjust executions is the vector that is needed to smarten up the entire ‘justice’ system — and thus prevent non-capital injustices too — then the executed have not died in vain. (And of course the huge majority of the executed are guilty.)

  32. ga gamba says

    The Home Office has the power to exclude any person suspected of being involved in terrorist activity on the basis that that their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good.

    And about an hour ago the Home Office did just that by stripping her of her British citizenship. She’s now left with her Bangladeshi citizenship.

    Canadians, brace yourselves for Trudeau to roll out the red carpet to welcome a new Canuckistani. That’ll get the SNC-Lavalin scandal off the front page for a while.

    • Ray Andrews says

      @ga gamba

      We Canuckistanis love everyone and Justin is our chief welcomer. But there are troubling reports that some of the Haitians who walked across the border last summer have been sent home while no one was paying attention. That’s not loving.

    • Proud Infidel says

      Mmmmm. heard a radio interview where the bytch claimed she didn’t have dual citizenship.

  33. Harrison Bergeron says

    “When a white man commits an act of terrorism, the Right wing media are quick to attribute his actions to either mental illness or legitimate grievances. ” No they don’t

    • Proud Infidel says

      Oh, yes they do. Go visit breitbart and educate yourself.

  34. Jezza says


    Ray, I take your point but I still contend that death is irreversible and is therefore of a different degree to false imprisonment which can (or should) be compensated. I am delighted that you take seriously a jocular flight of fancy. It shows you are a person of sound morals and comprehensive intellect. Thank you for your worthy response.

    Still on the question of capital punishment, have you heard of the guillotine used in small communities in the north of England. The blade was held aloft by a number cords in the hands of villagers. If they all released their cords the adjudged miscreant died. If just one retained his grip, the prisoner walked free, probably to banishment. The practice died out, I can’t imagine why.

    • Ray Andrews says


      It’s a very serious question and the answer is far from simple. Breaking the tension with a bit of levity can be a good thing. Yes, death is irreversible and that does matter a whole lot. But even then I don’t think we should consider it a night and day difference. If you had your whole life robbed from you only to be released at, say, 70 years old, how much recompense can really be paid? Some might argue that it would have been better to die that live with that injustice for your remaining days not to mention your 40 years in prison. Surely *all* false convictions are to be avoided?

      But the overarching theory on this is the social contract: we agree to live in a country where crime will be suppressed and we understand that occasional errors will occur and we accept that problem as the price to be paid for suppressing crime. It is comparable to sending the youth to war to defend the country — many will die innocent of anything at all, but the country must defend itself and the possible death of a soldier is the price to be paid even if that soldier is you.

      “If just one retained his grip, the prisoner walked free, probably to banishment.”

      No, I had no idea that had ever been done, but it’s a very good idea. The jury system accomplishes the same thing tho: if one of 12 refuses to convict, the guy walks.

    • E. Olson says

      Ray has some very good points, but another is simply that almost all crimes are committed by career criminals (I assume the same about terrorists). Therefore the death penalty is almost never put on the table unless the crime is truly heinous, and the criminal has a rap sheet as long as his arm. Thus the likelihood that a truly innocent first time criminal is sentenced to be executed is extremely unlikely to the 10th power in the US. This means that for any man who is wrongfully convicted of a specific crime and sentenced to execution, there is about a 99% chance he has been guilty of many other serious crimes but has never been caught or convicted. Furthermore, the actual execution itself typically takes place years after conviction (if it happens at all) because of various appeals processes. In fact, there have been a number of cases where the criminal admitted guilt, was sentenced to be executed, and wanted to be executed rather than face years in prison, but was forced to sit in a cell at taxpayer expense because the anti-capital punishment groups insisted on going through all the many years of motions to stop or slow down the execution.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @E. Olson

        “by career criminals”

        I’ve always hated that argument because it reeks of the old line when lynching a negro that even if he hadn’t really looked at one particular white woman he probably looked at others, or soon would, so no need to be too careful. But, nuts, what you say is known to be true. Even when they trumpet that Mugsy wasn’t guilty of crime X, that is not the same thing as saying that Mugsy isn’t a criminal who would have been dead long ago in many other jurisdictions.

        “wanted to be executed”

        Get the verdict right, give the guy a few days to collect himself, then hang him at dawn while the case is still fresh in the minds of those involved. The delays are grotesque. 15 years on death-row? That’s barbaric. Get it done or let the guy off. IMHO after, say, three years, if the state can’t get it done, then it’s commuted. But the loved ones of the victim have the right to watch him swing while the tears are still on their cheeks. Closure, I believe they call it.

  35. Abirdinthehand says

    “In their case, it’s often the bright young students and wholesome family men who get let off lightly when they commit terrible crimes. Such men are described in headlines as “brilliant, athletic,” a “devoted Mormon,” a “straight-A student,” or “soft-spoken, polite, a gentleman.” There is a noticeable disparity based on the race of the perpetrator.”

    First of all, can you name these “students and wholesome family men who get off lightly when they commit terrible crimes?” Were Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy or the BTK killer released because they appeared to be pillars of the community?

    But is that a simple description of how those men appeared to others, or a plea that their actions be excused? True crime author Ann Rule worked with serial killer Ted Bundy at a Seattle suicide prevention hotline in the early 70’s. She liked him a great deal and wrote that he struck her as a handsome, intelligent, sensitive young man. She would have approved of her daughter dating him. Rule was no naif, but a former policewoman in her 40’s. Many other people who knew him at the time had the same impression. But years later, when Bundy was tried and sentenced to death, his former friend had no problem saying he deserved to be executed.

    Psychopaths can often be charming. They can successfully mimic emotions like empathy without feeling them. They also are good at protective coloration – getting involved in churches, volunteer work, etc, to ensure they blend into their communities. Their “politeness” and seeming gentility are reported on with horror because we understand how they were able to fool people.

  36. Morgan Foster says

    I see that the British government has stripped Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship.

    Now it is only a matter of time before a British judge takes the law into her own hands and reinstates it.

  37. Reading this, the parallel that first came to my mind is Eva Braun (the wife of hitler. Yeah I know…) Say that she survived the war and went back to USA, should she be trialed? She most likely didn’t took part in the atrocity of the nazi, but I think she should have. Her support of the nazi cause was big enough to be judged under many law.

    This is a far fetched parallel, but I think daesh is in the same basket as the nazi. Her actions, even if just supportive, deserves a trial. As for her age, it would not be the first time.

    And if she is found to be innocent, then the judgement should be respected. It is a citizen obligation.

    • ga gamba says

      Say that she survived the war and went back to USA

      Back to the USA? Back?

      You have some idea that she was a US citizen or a resident of the US?

      I think the case of Iva Ikuko Toguri, dubbed “Tokyo Rose”, may be better, though it doesn’t mirror that of the ISIS runaway bride. Toguri was visiting a relative in Japan when WWII broke out and she was unable to return to the US. During the war she worked for NHK broadcasting propaganda.

      • ga gamba says

        WWII broke out for America. It had been happening elsewhere before 1941.

  38. Yavor says

    As for the argument that white terrorists are labeled as “mentally ill”, I disagree. I don’t think anyone has ever had trouble identifying IRA as a terrorist organization and its white members as terrorists. Same with ETA. The fact is, white men rarely nowadays engage in terrorism per se, that is, committing a crime with a political agenda. So, yes, it makes sense they are actually mentally disturbed, to say the least. As for people of colour, more often than not they turn out to be Jihadists for example, who murder people *with political motivation*, hence terrorists.

  39. pebbleskimmer says

    The reason that these women are referred to as ‘ISIS brides’ is because their purpose in joining ISIS was to bear children for the caliphate. One husband dead, they were immediately provided with another. Three children in 4 years testifies to Shamima’s commitment to producing the next generation of jihadis. She may not have fought physically, but she energetically engaged with a longer term method of warfare.

    • Another parallel with WWII,pebbles. BTW, in that war there must have been quite some girls, and not the least and ugly ones, falling in love with, and bearing children to camp commandants of Auschwitz and the like. I wonder whether they agreed heartily with the horrors, on some ideological basis (as was the case with Shamima), whether they talked about it with him, or whether they completely negated it, and just thought to have found a good prince, and a high ranked husband.
      Shamima even now does not feel bad about her indifference (neigh, even approval) of chopped of heads.

  40. It seems that many, like the author only, want to repatriate this woman to somehow demonstrate how ‘holier than thou’ our legal system is.
    Personally, I am not that insecure, and see no need to virtue signal to the likes of DAESH and their ilk who, I strongly believe, would only view any compassion towards Ms Begum as yet more proof of a decadent and soft society

    • @Pete: people arguing against a soft and decadent society often have a strong leaning towards fascism. Do you recognize such leaning in yourself?

      • Abirdinthehand says

        Right. Because there is absolutely no middle ground between “soft and decadent society” and fascism.

      • Charlie says

        Actually most soft and decadent people become the torturers employed by communist and Nazi regimes. Those who undertook torture and mass murder in KGB/Gestapo/SS were weak and cowardly types who were unfit for combat. Men who grew up physically tough from hard manual work, boxing and rugby such as those who served in the Commandos/Special Forces hardly ever committed acts of torture.

        It was the soft weak timid Mummy’s boys who became the torturers. Where over domineering Mothers and weak or absent Father’s are over protective: the sons do not develop the resilience and robustness from playing contact sports with their fellows. Consequently, they often develop sadistic tendencies to those weaker than themselves and craving for power over others. If one examines the careers of those who served in the Commandos/ Special Forces after WW2 , many left the armed services as they had enough of violence. As one very tough SBS sergeant said ” I spent the rest of the my life trying to forget what I did in the war”.

        The idolisation of fascism, Nazism, communism, Islamic terrorism is rarely undertaken by physically tough men who have undertaken hard physically dangerous manual work, boxing, rowing or played rugby. Just compare the lives of say Commandos/Special Forces people with members of the Gestapo, Nazi execution Squads and Chekist/OGPU/NKVD/KGB. Toughness is about how much pain and hardship an individual can endure, not how much they can inflict on others! The tradition of the English Speaking World was to dislike bullies but expect boys and men stand up for themselves, fight to protect their honour and participate in a fair fight. Courage, loyalty and fair play are respected cowardice, treason and slyness are despised.

  41. Good advice for the army of pedagogic and anti terrorist specialists that (a matter of time) will be formed in European countries to assist and surround the kids returned from the Kurdish camps: study also the lives of the children of the heads of Hitler’s third Reich, what became of them, what did they have to say about their youth and development. I just had a quick look into it. Most of them became quite normal, and even very good citizens(priests). But at least one, Gudrun Himmler never felt repentence and for long was speaker on neo-nazi gatherings. So, a leaning not unlike Shamima’s!

    • Charlie says

      There were vast numbers of unrepentant Nazis in Germany and around the World post 1945- speak to those who met them. There were too many ex Nazis to punish. For many Germans, the only mistake Hitler made was to lose.

      • Was it a mistake for Hitler to lose? What about Napoleon? What about France and US in Vietnam? In Algeria? I would like to have a talk with those Germans, Charlie, I don’t think they have any military background. More probable, misfits!
        But the point I wanted to make: how did their offspring do? We don’t know what to do with our 100 or so Dutch children in those Kurdish camps, and I’m very curious how it will all end, but the example of the children of German criminals (well known and studied) certainly can be used in the discussions!

    • Just saw her on Dutch TV, she tries to enter the NL for having had a Dutch husband, and, indeed, a book is likely then, ghostwriters line up. Especially, where she will come up with her attitudes of not being impressed at all by chopped off heads in a basket. That’s what readers like to read, in a country where scarcely anything exciting happens anymore!

  42. We have our own ISIS Bride that wants to come back, Hoda Muthana. So far, Trump and Pompeo say NO. Thank God. I am not clear on her citizenship but she went to school here. What’s the best way to prevent them going? They know they cannot come back, ever.

    • Jay Salhi says

      Hoda’s citizenship is complicated and the facts are not clear. She was born in the US but her father was a foreign diplomat. Children of foreign diplomats do not get birthright citizenship. Some reports say her father resigned as a diplomat a few months before she was born. If true, I don’t know how it affects the analysis, especially if he still held a diplomatic passport at the time of her birth, which is not clear.

      On top of that. She posted on social media years ago that she was going to burn her passport. Pompeo seems to think she has no passport. The family’s legal advisor says she has a valid passport. Facts remain unclear.

  43. I’ve known 13 year olds with more sense than 40 year olds. Age is a number and does not dictate intelligence, knowledge or moral fortitude. More and more, “children” aged 20 thru 35 are ridiculously immature and incapable of making logical, responsible choices. This “girl” knew exactly what she was doing. Just because she failed to understand that SHE was going to suffer in her quest to cause others suffering is no excuse to invoke her age to excuse her vile, evil actions.

    • But, Gru, she didn’t go there to cause suffering, she went there for some shared, maybe not well understood ideals ( the right way of living, community, religion, higher purpose), and these ideals mean suffering, even the dead of others (all within islam law). She even , much later, after so many years and 2 of her kids dead,saw a lot of oppression and corruption in IS, and explicitly did not approve about it, this is what she declared. She was mislead by others online, together with schoolmates (they must have discussed all this at length), in fact, all this can, even now, be read on blogs such as Tumblr Post, it’s right there, “don’t be a coward by living in kufr Disneyland, do something for the Ummah community, join us, be with us”.Unbelievable, that such temptations for muslim children are just there, online, one click away, free press, freedom, feel free to say and discuss what you think. Just try to understand what all this means, poor kids, poor youngsters, horrible, tragic, deeply tragic!

  44. Lee Floyd says

    Let her got in the hell she helped to create, and bred to populate.

  45. George says

    I liked the article. I fundamentally disagree with the authors conclusion, but it was a well written. My response though is simple. The caliphate established itself on the tenants of murdering apostates and non believers. It practiced wide spread slavery and rape. She made a choice then double downed on that choice and advocated the murder of the citizens of the country she fled. I don’t think she’s per se a danger. I think she gave up any right to live in the society she abandoned and advocated for its destruction enslavement. Actions have consequences and she should be forced to live with hers.

  46. dirk says

    Today, her Dutch husband on TV, he told to have done mainly humanitarian work and welding (his profession) in Syria, and to have fought only 1 day with the “enemy”. He has been tried already (in his absence) for 6 yrs, not too much. Will we ever know what he did, and what still goes on in his head? Not very likely.

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