With the collapse of ISIS’ caliphate, many foreign jihadists who travelled to Syria and Iraq to live out their primitive fantasies now want to return to the societies that they abandoned. One of these is Shamina Begum, a girl who left the UK in 2015 to travel to Syria after being radicalised via online propaganda. She has received a vast amount of media attention and some view her situation with sympathy, ignoring the fact that she voluntarily joined a genocidal death cult. She is not a victim and to say so is an insult to the thousands of people whose lives she helped ruin.

It is obvious that the only reason Begum wants to return to Britain is because her quality of life has dropped dramatically, she has not had a change of heart and if ISIS was still experiencing success then she would not even think of leaving. She shows no remorse for the actions the group she joined committed and still believes that the murder, rape and torture of countless civilians was justified. Her continuing adherence to extremist beliefs and her lack of emotion when discussing horrific crimes clearly marks her as a security threat.

The idea that she bears no responsibility for the actions of ISIS and is an innocent victim is also wrong. She acted as an invader into a foreign country, lived in houses whose previous occupants were either murdered or driven away, and it is likely that at one point or another she owned a slave. Women who travelled to Syria did not just act as housewives, many took part in the torture and oppression of local women and could prove to be just as violent as the men. There are thousands of other people living in refugee camps who have had their lives ruined by ISIS who are not given the attention or priority that Begum has been given, and even though many of them pose no security threat they will not be given the chance of escape due to the fact that they were born in the wrong country.

Despite her crimes, she and her baby should be let into Britain so she can be put on trial and her child can be brought up in a safe environment. Leaving her in Syria means we cannot keep a close eye on her and creates the possibility that she may return to the country undetected in the future. However, we should also agree to accept a certain amount of refuges into the country as well as Begum, and this should be replicated in the case of every other British jihadi that is allowed to return, as this would act as a form of compensation and apology to those whose lives have been destroyed by the actions of our own citizens.

Cameron Forbes

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