Coming of Islamist Age

Aged thirteen I was fascinated by politics and became a determined socialist. When I received literature from the National Front in Wolverhampton, whom I loathed, I wrote to my MP demanding that he crack down on them. He wrote back, to my mother, condemning the NF for sending literature to, ‘A child of that age.’

I was enraged; his message was clear; I was a non-person not for my views but for my age, unable to believe that I could have opinions of my own and think independently.

If I was a teenager now, I’d be very cross on behalf of ISIS devotee Shamima Begum, who is also considered to have been mindless when she made her decision to leave for Syria. She might be stupid and wrong, but that is not because of her age.

The overly protective view we now take of children, and perhaps particularly of girls, is that they have no intellect and should be medicalised into passivity. A report today from the Henry Jackson Society, a think-tank which tries to counter extremism, ‘Radicalising Our Children,’ contradicts that idea.

The study of 156 cases of radicalisation that had gone to court, found that although more boys than girls join ISIS, girls who do are more likely to have self-radicalised and made independent decisions. While boys tended to be radicalised by their families, girls were often more active in seeking extremist material and had more say in their decisions than boys. They wanted a new life beside Jihadi warriors, and were prepared to go to extreme lengths to get it.

There are claims that Shamima was ‘groomed’ and ‘brainwashed.’ Her parent’s lawyer is calling for a ‘case review,’ claiming she was let down by the local council, police, and her school, as if by leaving for Syria to follow her ideal, she had suffered serious neglect. As well as underestimating her independence, that ignores the perhaps ugly fact that she is a Salafist, sharing with fifty million fellow Muslims, a methodology associated with jihad and advocating the killing of innocent civilians.

In 2013 an EU report found that Salafi groups are involved, mainly via Saudi charities, with supplying arms rebel groups around the world. There are now over a hundred Salafist mosques in the UK.

This insistence that she should have been saved by teachers and social workers is absurdly unrealistic. Being young and idealistic, she behaved quite rationally. She is only being irrational now, in not wanting to live in a Salafist Muslim country. There are plenty of them, and Salafi influence is also growing in Bangladesh, where non Islamic writers and bloggers are now assassinated.

Her current attitude also takes me to my early twenties, the days of ‘Hitler’s Children,’ the Baader Meinhoff group in Germany. Pampered, middle-class youngsters like me, many of us envied their certainty and pure purpose; replacing cruel capitalist Imperialism with perpetual revolution. Not until I went to live in communist Poland aged 22, did I wonder why those angry young Germans didn’t go and live in the very state they wanted so much; a bus trip away, just over the Berlin wall.

Shamima was more honest, at least she tried to live the life and would still like to be doing so, but she’s now wrestling with the bitter adult conundrum shared by countless warriors and revolutionaries over the centuries, including Danton, Trotsky, Von Stauffenberg and Lin Biao; once you’ve helped to create your perfect state, forged out of passion, fire and faith, how do you live in it?

I hope that the bad Begum will one day end up as a High Church Tory like me, or her equivalent, safe amongst those who regard radical ideas with suspicion and in politics see them as a disaster.

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22 Comments on Coming of Islamist Age

  1. Begum would see herself as the mother of future jihidist a. She is in essence an Islamic artillery piece, her sole reason for existance, once impregnated, being to provide IEDs for the destruction of Western civilisation.

  2. The Begum case is open-and-shut: there is nothing complicated about telling someone to get lost. All this fuss may be a distraction from the fake Brexit that our rulers are about to serve up.

  3. Sorry Robert Sharpe. She has a unassailable legal right to return to Britain and she will. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of British citizens see her in the same light as previous generations of the English viewed the Battle of Britain pilots. Our history, the First and Second World wars, the Enlightenment, Darwin, 1066, the Reformation are irrelevant tribal ghost stories to them

    • Not to mention the Spanish Civil War, Myles.

      They should never have let Orwell come back to England after he went to fight for the Republicans (if you’re interested in my opinion) but then he went on to become a leading light of English literature. Who can say for sure about Begum? Allow her back, and she may grow up to be your next Germaine Greer.

      I’ll get my coat.

    • >Unassailable legal right to return to Britain
      Merely because she has a British passport and citizenship due to the accident of her birth?

      The entitlement to citizenship and a passport should entail much more than simply being born in a particular country.

      She has less in common with the values of most of the inhabitants of the British Isles, who fought tooth and nail to defend its borders within living memory, than the Moon has with Cheddar cheese.

      • Sheilagh:

        You say citizenship should not depend simply on where one is born, which perforce means that one cannot be a citizen before reaching the age of consent, unless you’re also saying that, until then, citizenship depends on how assimilated his parents are, and not on his place of birth at all.

        In other words, a born Tynesider has no right to call himself English until he reaches the age of reason and consent, and perhaps also passes some other tests – unless before then his Indian parents can recite “Gunga Din” by Kipling?

        My father (RIP) was conceived in a foreign country but born a subject of the Queen. According to your lights, he had no right to remain such without passing further tests. What tests might those be?

        • The privilege of citizenship should include some demonstration of commitment. But if one’s parents were also born in Britain or have spent a number of years there behaving themselves and paying taxes then a presumption of commitment can be readily made.

  4. Aged thirteen I was uninterested in politics but growing up in the 1960s I was immersed in a culture that disapproved of wealth and the wealthy. In those days we were reared on tales of Robin Hood (take from the rich, give to the poor), cautionary tales of the corrupting power of money and Christianity making virtue of poverty with the Bible telling us that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven”. So I naturally assumed that socialism was a force for good and capitalism was naked greed which must be resisted. Was I radicalised?

    • Were you radicalised, mana in London? Well, did you try to kill anyone in furtherence of your revolutionary cause? I suspect naivety and delusion are prerequisites to radicalisation. Stupidity – or psychopathy – has a place in their somewhere as well. I think you were safe as just another boring teen (and yes, I speak from experience).

      • Why do Muslims come to the West? Is it to embrace Western culture and values (as the migrant huggers would have us believe)? No, the main drive is to escape the poverty, oppression and corruption of their native lands and enjoy the peace and prosperity of the developed world. Unfortunately, they insist on bringing their own values and their own God with them. They remain wilfully blind to the possibility that their God and the moral code he demands they live by could be the cause of their failure.

        Moderate or not, Muslims do not integrate well. They find themselves in the position of compromised outsiders in a society whose prosperity they wish to enjoy but whose values they despise. A younger generation of Muslims, eager for a heroic cause to give meaning and purpose to their lives, looked to the rise of ISIS and saw in it the triumph of pure uncompromising Islam. Is it so surprising that they wanted to be part of that revolution?

        “Radicalisation” is a strangely comforting explanation our experts resort to. Evil agencies must have captured innocent young minds. Why else would they embrace such a cruel and brutal revolution? Our dominant class of do-gooders foolishly assumes that everyone will be kindly and humane as long as they aren’t diverted to the wrong path in life.

        ISIS is a movement that revels in sadistic cruelty. Rather than hide their barbarism they broadcast it to the world. As the tedious debate about whether or not Begum should be allowed to return to Britain rumbles on we should be asking why she and other ISIS followers view such brutality with calm acceptance (if not enthusiasm). News is emerging as I write this that SAS troops have found the severed heads of 50 Yazidi sex slaves. Presumably Begum would be “ok with that”.

        De-radicalisation is the rehabilitator’s tool. The rehabilitator strives to turn the young revolutionary into a “useful and productive member of society”. This is tantamount to treating radical Islam as an illness in need of a cure. Similar therapeutic methods are used to “treat” career criminals. Are they successful?

        • Perhaps ambitions to rehabilitate are confronted by an insurmountable obstacle: what substitute is there, in a secular society, for Allah? And whether or not a young barbarian subscribes to the metaphysical argument, the whole apparatus behind radical Islam must be addictive: sexism, war, bloodshed, domination & subjugation. How does following Meaghan Markle on a shopping trip in New York compare, I wonder?

          • Addiction? If Radical Islam is addictive then all religions and ideologies can be addictive too. It is the righteous cause (with its aura of heroic struggle) which is most addictive and persuasive.

            At the beginning of the film “The Baader Meinhof Complex” the parents of Gudrun Ensslin are shown expressing approval of their daughter and what they saw as her sincere desire to change the world for the better. Social justice warriors and their “heroic” aims are too often praised when they deserve to be fundamentally challenged.

            The insurmountable obstacle to rehabilitation, be it of career criminal or a dangerous revolutionary, is the subject’s contempt for those who would rehabilitate and for the process itself.

            Metaphysical argument?! Who needs that when the religion you have grown up with, the religion that gives you a sense of community and identity is declared to be the enactment of God’s will on Earth. No need for a debate – and the infidel with his laws, secular or otherwise, can be treated with the contempt he deserves.

  5. Were you radicalised, mana in London? Well, did you try to kill anyone in furtherence of your revolutionary cause? I suspect naivety and delusion are prerequisites to radicalisation. Stupidity – or psychopathy – has a place in their somewhere as well. I think you were safe as just another boring teen (and yes, I speak from experience).

  6. Begum may indeed have ‘an unassailable legal right to return to Britain’ but that doesn’t mean the Government needs to act upon it.
    Instead they can drag their feet through all sorts of caveats and problems and loopholes for years, just as they have done with Brexit.

    • Myles Harris:

      I retire from my legal practice in April. Painful that you think of me as “scum” until then. Perhaps even thereafter?

      But I’m comforted by the Gospel lesson today:
      “Pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, etc. etc.

  7. You should examine the role of lawyers in milking the NHS of billions , and their pivotal role in wrecking the govermnent’s attempts at controlling illegal immigration. High time this ‘profession’ was reformed.

  8. There should be some seminal point in world history (modern) when people could simply claim to be “from” wherever why chose to be from. How is Ms Begum British? Modern Britain is not an immigrant country – yeah, you can have all talk of the Normans and Angles and what have you but what gives England her defining culture is not at all represented by Begum. Truth is, this could be just the tip of the iceberg, with hundreds more Begums waiting in the wings. Entire swathes of England could look like this girl’s dreams if they have their way.

    Come to think of it, rather than this being a grave matter, this whole episode has the seriousness of an Islamic version of Jersey shore. The IQ levels displayed are of a similar level. The core issue at hand doesn’t budge – at what point do elected representatives of the people in England (natives) acknowledge that there is a problem with integrating one specific foreign culture into the rubric of British society, and what actions will be taken to redress this?

  9. *As I understand it*, Begum has dual citizenship as a result of her mother being Bangladeshi. Under Bangladesh law, a UK national like Ms Begum, if born to a Bangladeshi parent, is automatically a Bangladeshi citizen. That means that such a person would have dual nationality.

    If the person remains in the UK, their Bangladeshi citizenship remains in existence but dormant.

    Under this “blood line” law, Bangladeshi nationality and citizenship lapse when a person reaches the age of 21, unless they make efforts to activate and retain it.

    So, it is Ms Begum’s age, 19, that is likely to have given Home Office lawyers and the home secretary reassurance there was a legal basis for stripping her of her UK citizenship.
    Do I think this will stop her coming back to the UK? The jury is out on that one.

  10. It is only an “unassailable legal right” if the government cannot make the case that she can acquire citizenship elsewhere. Bangladesh’s recent statements in that regard where ministers have the final say on controversial cases might suggest this is the case.

    What’s also the case is that we have committed ourselves to a whole panoply of international laws and treaties which like Gulliver seriously impede the UK’s movement in so many areas.

    Perhaps if we ever achieve Brexit the next step in reclaiming our nationhood from the globalist maw will be to try to use our soft power (so-called) to encourage the revision or rescinding of many of these treaties in concert with others for the diplomatic cover provided.

    The 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention being the gold standard, here.

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