19 February 2019 19:30
I'm warming to Shamima Begum, the jihadist bride who feels very, very strongly that she should be allowed back to the UK as a reward for the four tough years she spent in Syria supporting Islamic State. IS bride Shamima Begum has insisted she is not 'a threat' to the UK and has spoken of her regret at joining the jihadi fighters in Syria pic.twitter.com/vTBIFmMDKs — ITV News (@itvnews) February 18, 2019 It recently emerged that he called for the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd to be sent to a "concentration camp"; and that, writing about the wildfires that killed dozens of people in the U.S. last year, he said: "If this doesn't look like a punishment from God I don't know what does." For some perspective, it's worth reading the moving Twitter thread by historian Tom Holland – who very bravely ventured near ISIS territory to make a documentary about the plight of the Yazidis. Well I'm sorry but if we're in the business of compassion, I can think of tens of thousands of displaced Yazidi girls who deserve a place in the queue way before Begum). Policy Exchange's recent report, Aiding the Enemy, outlines how Parliament should restore the law of treason, specifying that it is treacherous to support a group that one knows intends to attack the UK or is fighting UK forces. Jihadi bride, Shamima Begum, cannot be prosecuted simply for going to Syria, Britain's most senior police officer has said, adding that many of those who have returned have led "peaceful lives".
Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick, said the 19-year-old, who ran away to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) four years ago could be arrested and potentially prosecuted if she returned to the UK. But she acknowledged that travelling to Syria was not an offence in itself, and said the police would need evidence that she had been involved in crime or terrorism in order to bring charges. A study by the Henry Jackson Society found evidence that while boys tended to join Isil under the influence of family members, girls were more likely to have sought out extremist material on their own. A French colonel fighting Isis has criticised the US-led coalition's methods to defeat the terror group which he said had "greatly increased the death toll among civilians". Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier, who has since October, been in charge of directing his country's artillery in support Kurdish-led groups in Syria, now faces punishment for his comments. He said the coalition's focus in the fight to defeat Isis in its remaining stronghold of Hajin had been on limiting its own risks at the expense of greatly increasing the death toll among civilians and the levels of destruction. France is one of the main allies in the US-led coalition fighting Isis in Syria and Iraq. It comes as the United Nations (UN) warned around 200 families are trapped in a tiny pocket of land in eastern Syria still under the control of Isis. Militants have stopped some families from leaving and many families "continue to be subjected to intensified air and ground-based strikes by the US-led Coalition forces and their SDF allies on the ground," Michelle Bachelet, the UN's human rights chief, said. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have said they are on the verge of capturing the last Isis enclave in the village of Baghouz, in Deir ez-Zor. Around 200 families are trapped in a tiny pocket of land in Syria still controlled by Isis and are being bombed by US-led coalition forces, the UN has said. The group estimates around 300 Isis militants and about 2,000 civilians are under siege, and Michelle Bachelet, the UN's human rights chief, said militants were stopping some families from fleeing. Many of the families "continue to be subjected to intensified air and ground-based strikes by the US-led Coalition forces and their SDF allies on the ground," Ms Bachelet said in a statement. The SDF attacking Isis have an obligation under international law to take all precautions to protect civilians who are mixed in with the foreign fighters, her spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing. So that's potentially a war crime on the part of [Isis]," Mr Colville said. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said around 50 trucks had entered the Isis-held area, apparently to bring out some of those trapped inside. More than 60 people have died in recent weeks as they fled what remains of Isis territory, the International Rescue Committee said on Monday. Ms Bachelet also voiced conern for those who had fled the Isis-controlled territories and are being held by Kurdish armed groups, including the SDF, who are reportedly preventing them from leaving the camps, she said. "Particular care needs to be taken with the civilians and if possible they should be treated humanely, and allowed to leave the camps. Kurdish-led forces continuing the fight on the ground have said they are on the verge of capturing Isis' last bastion. Islamic State schoolgirl Shamima Begum has had her British citizenship revoked, her family has been told in a letter from the Home Office. "Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship," the letter read. "In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made." The letter went on to urge Ms Begum's family to make her aware of the decision, and added that she had a right to appeal. In a statement posted on Twitter, the family's lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said: "Family are very disappointed with the Home Office's intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship. A British woman who travelled to Isis territory and gave birth in Syria - in a case mirroring Shamima Begum's – was not prosecuted when she returned to Britain but had her child taken into care, a report has revealed. Debate has raged over the fate of 19-year-old Begum after it was revealed that the Isis supporter was in a Syrian camp, where she gave birth to a son at the weekend, and wanted to return to Britain. Now a report from the Henry Jackson Society has revealed that another woman who travelled back to the UK from Isis territories was not prosecuted. However, her daughter - identified only as child J for legal reasons - was taken out of her care aged 10 months because the mother's support for Isis put her at risk of "significant harm". The case of Child J Her parents, both in their 20s, travelled to Isis territory in Syria in 2015 and lived in the terrorist strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa before appearing at the Turkish border two years later and being detained. The mother was arrested and questioned, but not prosecuted, and her daughter was placed with her grandmother after Judge Gwynneth Knowles found she had lied about her intentions in travelling to Syria. "It was just a problem waiting to happen and now we need to ensure that we're able to deal with new and returning children." A Home Office document published last year said around 100 children had been prevented from being taken to Syria and Iraq since 2015, but there is no official estimate of the number who reached Isis territory or have been born to British extremists living there. Isis has advertised its indoctrination of children and use of child soldiers, and Ms Malik said that even those not involved in fighting could be "emotionally disturbed" by their exposure to violence. A boy known only as child Y, who was taken to Isis territories by his mother and returned at the age of two, later showed a "marked and persistent interest in guns and 'shooting people'", a High Court judge found before putting him in his grandmother's care. The children considered by family courts included those who attempted to travel to Isis territories themselves, were taken abroad by their parents or were being radicalised at home. The report found that girls in the sample were "more active and independent" in seeking out extremist material, while boys tended to join a terrorist organisation under the influence of their families. In one case, a High Court judge discontinued the wardship of children whose mother was detained on the Syrian border - and had Isis flags and extremist material – because the "burden of proof [that she was trying to join Isis] was not met". But a different judge put full care orders in place for children after their family were detained on the way to Syria, after finding there was "no good explanation" for the journey. Ms Malik said the "piecemeal approach" could be dangerous, and called for centralised guidance on extremism cases and improved understanding of radicalisation in family courts, warning: "This problem isn't going to go away."