Saturday, February 16, 2019

ISIS; Shamima Begun - Return to the UK or not?

The question about whether the UK should allow Mrs Begun to return to London given her travel out to Syria four years ago and her involvement with the terror group ISIS during that time, is vexing many in this country.

On the one hand she witnessed human heads dumped in  buckets after many people for example journalists, who had been captured by the terrorists were murdered by beheading or otherwise yet she did not apparently protest at the time nor does she express any regret now. 

On the other hand she is almost nine months pregnant now having lost earlier babies through malnourishment; she was only 15 years old when she left the UK for Syria and her parents or at least her father, calls for government help in securing her return.

Reading ordinary people's views about the question of Mrs Began's return, the thought strikes me that the views really divide into old testament and new testament opinions. The Old Testament view is often that of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" or to put this in another way: "you have made your bed so now have to lie in it". The New Testament approach on the other hand is  to "turn the other cheek", ie to allow the woman to re-enter the UK if that is what she wishes to do.

The position is far from clear cut, for example it seems that Mrs Began married a Dutchman so presumably  Holland would be a possibility for her and her child depending upon the attitude of her husband's family. If she came back to the UK she  would be closely questioned by the police and criminal authorities, then perhaps tried and  sentenced to imprisonment for a while leaving open the question of who would look after her baby during all of that time.

Mrs Begun's family in the UK, at least her father, wants the UK government to bring her back to this country. Leaving aside the question of what the family were up to when she was planning to leave for Syria and the funding she would have needed for this, presumably the family have the primary responsibility to raise the fares for her travel back to London eg by crowd-funding or even arranging for a representative to travel to Turkey and beyond to assist her?

My own view on this far from straightforward matter however is that the UK government should adopt the New Testament approach. Not only will this be a sign about the country's abhorrence of  the ISIS thugs but also would be a sign of our own civilised ways of acting. 

Mrs Begun might have to suffer a trial and imprisonment if found guilty but she might also become aware of her own misbehaviour and seek to make amends.  After all is that not exactly what Saul  did on the road to Damascus  which he travelled to pursue and trap those who were following Jesus, who he had never met? Along the  way following a revelation which temporarily blinded him, he was converted and murdered no more Christians but instead thenceforth  furthered the cause of Christ.

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