Whatever the risk this young Isis supporter may pose, she is Britain’s responsibility and we cannot afford to shirk it
Exploited victim or unrepentant villain? It’s impossible to determine the truth about Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old who left Bethnal Green in London when she was 15 to join Islamic State, from a single newspaper interview. And it shouldn’t be hard to acknowledge that more than one interpretation of her story might contain a ring of accuracy.
Begum is undoubtedly vulnerable. She was groomed online at the age of 15; married off, albeit willingly, to a jihadist fighter while still a child just 10 days after arriving in Raqqa, Syria; in recent months, she has lost two infants to malnutrition and inadequate healthcare. Heavily pregnant with her third child, she says: “I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.”
We as observers may feel at once a disconcerting mix of compassion for her suffering … and disgust for her views
The correct approach to British citizens who hold abhorrent views … is not to abandon our values, or to junk due process
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