Shamima Begum: The ISIS Bride Who Wants To Come Back To The UK 0 86

I’ve had some people ask for my opinion on the ‘Shamima Begum’ situation. Here it is.

For those who are unaware, Shamima Begum is a young woman who, in 2015 at the age of 15, along with two other girls left their hometown ‘Bethnal Green,’ East London to become ‘ISIS brides’ or simply, to join ISIS. Begum has been headlining news outlets and has sparked a fierce debate here in the UK for almost a month now as she appeals to be allowed back into the UK following the death of two children and the imprisonment of her husband.

At first glance, Shamima Begum and I share some similarities, we are both 19 year old Bengali, Muslim women. But at the age of 15 when I was dealing with being a ‘normal’ teenager by wearing foundation shades much darker than my skin, had eyebrow’s that were way too thin and experimenting with rather strange fashion choices, Shamima Begum traded in her regular, British teen life for one as a housewife in an extremist group which target and kill innocent people.

In my personal opinion, Shamima Begum’s decision to join ISIS could have been forgivable and she would have been shown mercy when it came to the decision to revoke her British citizenship if she had shown even the slightest bit of remorse for the actions of ISIS and the consequences of her decision to join them. Although Begum has described her life as being “mostly normal” as she was “only a housewife,” to what extent is this life a ‘normality’ in her mind? Because as far as I am– and probably most of the general public are- aware being “unfazed” by severed heads in the bin is NOT normal.

Another factor that infuriated me was that as an “extremist” you’d think she’d have an extensive knowledge of the religion that she claims to be a part of, but she said that “as far as I [she] was aware, islamically that is okay” when talking about the murder of innocent people. In what world has it EVER been acceptable in any religion – where peace is practiced highly – to take the lives of innocent people. Since when has it been okay to take away the childhood of an innocent child who will now never know more than destruction and the pain of watching a loved one die.

Moreover, when asked about the tragic Manchester bombing on 22nd May 2017 Shamima Begum basically took the approach that it’s “an eye for an eye” saying that it was just “retaliation.” Is it safe to have her out in the public here in the UK after learning her mentality of an event that sent shockwaves throughout the whole world? How can she openly say that people and children losing their lives, when all they were doing was innocently listening to a musician they admire, is all because of RETALIATION. How is this plausible? How can she see this as justification for the drastic consequences of such a heart-breaking event in British history?

For me, her lack of remorse was the deciding factor in why I think she shouldn’t be allowed back into the UK. The mentality that ISIS retaliating to the UK is justification for all of the innocent lives we are losing all over the world is one that is quite frankly dangerous, and we don’t have 100% belief as a nation that she is coming back to the UK for the safety of her child having lost two children already to disease and malnutrition. The potential risk that she will be on public security is not one that I think we should willingly take.

The problem is that I feel absolutely appalled by what this decision means for her new-born son, Jahaar. It is unfortunately very likely that he will become very ill and may even die, just like his siblings who passed away before they could even walk, due to the malnutrition and disease that Jahaar will most likely encounter in the living conditions he is currently facing. Some of the general public have said that although it is a tragedy he would be just one more child in that situation. But, exactly: he would be another CHILD in that situation and he can’t help it, he didn’t have a decision in which situation he’d be born in to and if we can help him, then we should.

Technically by law the child, Jahaar, would have the right to citizenship in the UK as his mother, Shamima Begum was born and raised there. In my opinion if Shamima Begum is truly attempting to come back to the UK for the wellbeing of her son she should consider allowing her child to be raised by her family who are still residing in Bethnal Green. I don’t mean for this to sound insensitive as I can only imagine what it would feel like to part from your child. But, in this case where Jahaar would truly benefit from being brought up by his maternal family, this is an option that Begum should definitely consider.

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Anisah Akther is 19 and from the UK. A die-hard coffee drinker, bookworm, student, tweetaholic and writer who likes her feminism intersectional.

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