The cases of Shamima Begum and Rahaf Mohammed tell us a lot about how we define victimhood
Whilst differing in nature, what binds these two stories are the type of reactions elicited by the public and political figures, and the reactionary politics fraught with double standards and messiah complexes that inevitably ensue.
Shamima Begum, a 19-year-old British citizen who ran away from London to join Daesh with her friends four years ago has provoked mixed feelings about whether or not she should be permitted to return to the UK and raise her newborn child. Found in a camp in Syria by a journalist, ethics aside, the monotone figure of Begum, who lost two children fathered by a Dutch Daesh fighter over her four years in the country, says that she has no regrets about joining the so-called Islamic State and that it has made her “stronger”. Perhaps not the smartest reply for someone trying to make it back to British soil, but her readiness to face the consequences of her actions should be the main focus here.
Her “Britishness” has now been called into question, though, with calls for her citizenship to be revoked and for her to be denied entry into her home country in a machismo show of no sympathy for those who choose to join a “death cult”. Whilst the anger may be logical, it is this type of identity politics that has no doubt fuelled some of the marginalisation felt by many young British Muslims, with some pushed to vulnerability when finding a sense of community in dangerous online spaces.
*This article was originally published on Middle East Monitor's Opinion Section.
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