For the past few days our national conversation has been dominated by the case of Shamima Begum, a young British woman who has expressed a desire to return home after joining Daesh in Syria four years ago, at the age of 15. She was found by a Times journalist, 9 months pregnant and living in a refugee camp.
We are unequivocal in our view that Ms Begum was misguided and wrong to travel to Syria to join Daesh, a terrorist group that has caused untold misery, destruction and suffering to innocents across the world. This action has also caused pain and anxiety to Ms Begum’s family members and her local community in Bethnal Green.
Ms Begum was, and appears to still be seduced by the call of a well-organised and sharp propaganda unit and has spent the last four years living amidst the reality of this fantasy; bombings, brutality, malnourishment and the death of her children.
Ms Begum should be allowed to return home to face the consequences of her actions, where we can determine any security threat she may pose, and exactly what physical and psychological impact her experience has had. We also should not neglect her (British) unborn child and ensure s/he does not suffer the same fate as Ms Begum’s first two children.
Britain’s response to this case should demonstrate our commitment to justice and the rule of law – qualities that are sorely missing in the death and destruction of Daesh. A transparent process is something guaranteed to every British citizen, regardless of their actions. There is nothing more that Daesh would want than for us to turn to retribution in response to their actions. Let us not afford them the luxury.