• Sharin Hussain

Shamima Begum: Sold on Idyllic Dreams

Many will say that it is hard to sympathise with Shamima Begum, the young 15 year old who ran away from home to join ISIS back in 2015. Well, actually it isn’t if you really think about it.

Firstly, she must have been going through something traumatic to want to run away from home, to escape her reality. As a young teenager scrolling through the internet with pops up and random website to take you to dark places, it isn’t safe. There’s so much out there that can change your perspective and can also sell a lie to you. That’s also why many people in the media industry cannot be trusted as ‘fake news’ has a way of catching people out and making them believe things that are often not true. Well, there are some dark places on the web that actually sell ISIS like it is everything you want and more. It’s a dream of hope and promise and what Shamima must have found, in order for her to want to go the Iraq.

That dream that was sold to her was a complete lie. What she saw online was a misrepresentation of the reality that is happening in Iraq. For her to go there and come back, changed and afraid, you have to remember that she must have seen some traumatic situations back there and whilst that may have been her own fault, it doesn’t take away from her mental and physical health. In her interview with Sky News, she said, At first it was nice, it was like how they showed it in the videos, like 'come, make a family together', proving that her actions were decided by what she saw online.

Since her return, she has been denied a UK citizenship as she has been accused of committing crimes whilst in Syria. Jeremy Corbyn supports her decision to challenge the decision for removal of her citizenship and defends her rights to legal aid, and said, “She is a British national and therefore she has that right, like any of us do, to apply for legal aid if she has a problem. She has legal rights, just like anybody else does,”

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said “She knew the choices she was making, so I think we made decisions about her future based on those choices,” Interestingly, when other teenagers are found with hard evidence against them for committing crimes, they received the old, ‘Ah, he’s young, he doesn’t know what he is doing. He shouldn’t be seen as a grown up for his actions’.

Whilst I am not condemning her decision to go to ISIS, I think that her actions show that she was being more of a child wanting to run away from home and get away from her troubles than an evil jihadist who has come back to plot crimes within the UK.

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