For the first time in almost 244 years, American left, right and the middle seems to agree on something. Every side of the aisle said NO to Hoda Muthana’s request to come back. She is the Alabama-born girl who decided to leave high school and marry ISIS fighters.
The same story developed in the United Kingdom where Shamima Begum pleads to come back to England.
The crucial question of returning the Isis brides sparked significant controversies during the last weeks. But there are no supporters for their return. We don’t see Hollywood stars pleading the public. We don’t see NGO advocating for their safety, and the public is outraged by their attempt. It seems like no one wants them back.
“People should have sympathy for me.” Said Shamima Begun. “Two of my children were killed and I wish life for my third sone… I was fifteen when I left for the caliphate… I married a husband I wouldn’t find in the UK… I had fun there… I just want a peaceful life now.”
I watched interviews with both girls, and they seemed cold and distant.
Hoda Muthana is smiling throughout the whole video like she won the lottery. She was on the verge of giggles while talking about her social media shouts to paint the streets with the blood of her fellow Americans.
Shamima Begun was even worse. She couldn’t look straight at the camera. And she didn’t denounce ISIS. She appeared to be okay with all the monstrosities — even supportive.
I tried to keep my mind open. I wanted to be sympathetic to the girls. I did my best to look at them as victims of circumstances — both were young teenagers at the time they ran away. But I couldn’t feel compassion for their actions, because they didn’t appear to express any remorse. It seemed like they still believe in the world ruled by Sharia law. I’ve got the feeling if ISIS had the upper hand in the war, they would never think twice about the homeland.
Should we let them back?
In the UK, more than 800 former ISIS fighters returned between 2015 and 2019. At least half of them faced repercussions and trials by law. Currently, more than 400 are serving prison sentences. I believe the system should prosecute more jihadist returnees, but that’s for another debate.
You can hear similar stories from the United States. Terrorist militants returned home to face the music. And they should face the music because they did unspeakable crimes against humanity.
Why don’t we want the brides back, but we let all the fighters return?
One of the straight answers would be cheap populist politics. Your initial gut reaction to hearing their stories was probably not to let them back, ever. Mine was the same. And this is something the people in power can use to further their agenda.
But if you stop and think about the whole idea for a second, you might gain another perspective.
These girls are citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States. ISIS radicalized the brides in our schools, on our soil.
I believe it’s our mess and we should deal with it accordingly. We have so much to learn about deradicalizing and rehabilitating these young people.
The girls need serious help. Even if you don’t have sympathy for them, like most people don’t, you should still be able to learn how to help those in need.