Her UK family have capable lawyers working on her behalf, but who is paying for this legal assistance? The public are entitled to know, especially if it is legal aid providing the funding. The majority of the British public, as in so many issues, is given little voice on this subject.
We are told we would be breaking international law if we took away her British citizenship or prevented her from returning. We are told we cannot make her “stateless.” This status is actually not that unusual, and although it does reduce a lot of basic rights, it depends very much on the country in which a “stateless person” is living.
Should or would she be a “stateless person?”
For instance, Palestinians living in Syria, who are “stateless persons,” are broadly given the same rights as Syrian citizens. In fact, there are a few hundred thousand “stateless persons” living in Syria of various backgrounds, so if Ms Begum were to be “stateless” there, it would hardly be that abnormal. There are in fact, according to UN estimates, approximately 12 million “stateless persons” in the world, including in Europe, so it is not an uncommon problem. What is important, is to make the protection of British citizens paramount, over the so called “rights” of someone associated with ISIS Daesh. We should not be making it okay to just come back into UK society as if the person concerned had been on some kind of holiday jaunt.
Does allowing ISIS supporters back into the UK encourage terrorism?
We cannot and should not forget, not only the terror in Iraq and the Middle East, but the IS inspired terrorist attacks in the UK as well as worldwide. To allow people like Ms Begum back into the UK is like dancing over the graves of the victims of those murdered in the Manchester terrorist bombings and other IS inspired terrorism acts in the UK. It is tantamount to sanctioning such actions, and these people must realise there will be serious consequences for them, if they want to destroy the very society which gave them citizenship.
Ms Begum and her husband should stay in Syria
Ms Begum should be handed over to the Syrian or Kurdish authorities for questioning, the same as her husband. The Syrians and the Kurds are the only people who really have the full intelligence about what ISIS Daesh supporters, such as Ms Begum and her husband, have been up to. UK intelligence is simply not as informed on these issues.
Do ISIS supporters tell the truth to the media and authorities?
Little is said of Ms Begum’s Dutch Jihadi husband, who surrendered to the Kurdish dominated SDF. Under Shia law, her baby would have the name of her father, not her mother, unless she was raped (and there is no suggestion that she entered this marriage other than completely willingly). Indeed we are now told that her baby, a son, has been given the name of his brother who died, but of course this is still the father’s name.
The media have only given part of his name, “Jarrah,” named after a jihadist commander (surprise, surprise), but his father would have taken on a muslim name on his conversation to jihadist extremism. His father is named in the media with his Dutch name of Yago Riedijk, but it is interesting that very little is revealed about his birth and upbringing apart from the comment that he grew up in a middle class community. Indeed, no photos have been published of his father, mother and sister (yet photos have been published of Shamima’s family). A photo of him is attached with his mother’s face blanked out.
Why does Ms Begum want to leave Syria and her husband?
For someone so committed to him why does she want to leave him, or is she acting under his instructions? She has already admitted she is still very much in love with him and that it was his wish to have their son named Jarrah. Her story, like those of many jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq, could well have a great deal of fiction in it. They are advised to be inventive with what they have been through. We do not even know if her story about losing two children is actually true either. We know that ISIS Daesh have told their followers to go to Europe and carry out campaigns of destroying our societies here. Already in the UK alone, over 425 ISIS fighters have returned, hardly a comforting thought.
What about Ms. Begum’s baby? He would be a Dutch citizen as well as potentially a UK one, and Ms Begum herself can apply to be a Dutch citizen. We simply are not given the full picture about her. There have been some social media comments that she was actually born in Bangladesh, and that she could have dormant dual nationality.
There appear to be many other actions the UK Home Secretary could take to prevent her return; although it has already been announced that her British citizenship will be stripped, it is clear her family intends to legally challenge the decision. One of a number of options would be the issuing of a Temporary Exclusion Order (TEO), which can be extended indefinitely. It would appear that the only way she could legally come to the UK in such circumstances would be if she was deported here by the Iraqi or Turkish authorities, if she came under their jurisdiction. It is not impossible for the UK government to use its influence to ensure that would not happen.
Ms begum and her family should stay in Syria and help repair the damage they have caused
Then there is the issue of who should look after the baby son? Are she or her husband fit persons to be parents? Are her own family in England, who have questionable Islamist beliefs, fit persons either? Why, too, do we hear nothing from Yago Riedijk’s parents about whether they would like to look after their grandson? Are they fit and proper persons? It seems there is just part of the larger picture of information which for some reason is being withheld from us. It is known that Yago Riedijk was sentenced in absence for six years, for a foiled attempted act of terrorism in Arnhem in the Netherlands and he is wanted there. But would it serve the best interests of the Dutch people for him to return and probably be released early?
Ironically, the best option might be for Ms Begum, her husband and newly born son to remain in Syria. In the interests of justice, the Kurds and the Syrian government should be able to assess how culpable either of them may have been in any acts of murder and /or brutality. If they are innocent of anything too untoward, then the Syrian government has a successful reconciliation scheme where former jihadists are allowed back into normal society providing they renounce terrorism. Considering the horrors that ISIS Daesh have inflicted on the Syrian people, would not the best future for Ms Begum and her husband be to pay back to that society by contributing to its rehabilitation and bringing up their child there? They both turned their backs willingly on what the UK and Holland offered them, so now it is not appropriate for them to reap what they sowed?
It will be a telling time for the UK government. Will it be a case of many words but this terrorist supporter still returning to the UK? We can only hope that sense will prevail and that the Home Secretary’s utterances will not be those of a toothless bulldog. USA President Donald Trump has recently insisted that captured ISIS fighters are returned to their European countries for trial and has effectively said they will be released otherwise. The USA does have some influence over the Kurds, who they have been supporting. However, on this issue, Donald Trump is wrong, because these ISIS fighters would better kept in Syria and put on trial there.