Begum’s banishment throws up two major questions.
So says Aina Khan, writer and playwright, and a former presenter for British Muslim TV.
First, we need to know why a straight-A teenager from east London would willingly leave Britain to embrace a death cult. It defies all reason.
Well, it’s your death cult, love. You should know.
Before condemning her we need to know how this naive teenager was pushed in this direction. If she’d been sexually groomed at this age we would not be vilifying the victim.
Sure we would! We did it when your fellow Muslims were in hot water, didn’t we?
And, second, the British government’s decision to sever her citizenship is in effect burying its head in the sand. Though Bangladesh has washed its hands of her, Javid, and his successor Priti Patel, still claim Begum can apply for citizenship in that country, where her parents were born.
She can. And she’d better! Because she’s not coming back here…
But she’s a product of Britain, not of Bangladesh – a country she has never visited. Her rights as a British citizen – born here, raised here, and with an east London accent – should transcend the seriousness of her crime, and she should be tried on British soil.
She threw away those rights.
And, moreover, it sends a signal to all British ethnic minorities. Like many of us born here in families whose parents or grandparents migrated from abroad, Begum knows this country and no other. And until recently it’s only been the far right who have questioned black and brown people’s right to be here. But given that all ethnic minorities have family connections to other countries, it now places a question mark over all of our futures.
No, love. Only the ones who follow a backwards religion and join a death squad fighting against the modern world. That’s not you, is it?