The Mail is reporting that Shamima Begum – you know, the Isis bride who wants to come back to Britain – was part of the morality police in Isis. And that as such she would sew suicide bombers into their explosive vests. All of which is of course most interesting and just one more damn good reason why we’re not about to allow 16 year olds the vote. Because, as Lord of the Flies showed, a place run by the ferals of puberty isn’t a nice one.
But with respect to whether Shamima should be allowed to come back to Britain or not it’s irrelevant. She could even be quite literally as bad as Hitler or Stalin and it would still be irrelevant:
Jihadi bride Shamima Begum stitched suicide bombers into explosive vests, spy chiefs have told Theresa May and Sajid Javid. The Mail on Sunday has learned that the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have been briefed by the intelligence services about claims that British-born Ms Begum was witnessed preparing suicide vests for would-be martyrs – sewing them on to the bombers so that the devices could not be removed without detonation. Intelligence sources told this newspaper they have been informed of her chilling role in Syria actively preparing jihadis to take their own lives as Islamic State collapsed. If the allegations prove to be correct, they will shatter the claim by the teenager from East London that she was nothing more than an IS fighter’s wife after she enlisted with the death cult while still a schoolgirl in 2015.
That is, in a proper and just world what she did while there should be irrelevant to her ability to enter – or not – Britain. This is not to protect her, this is to protect us. For that’s what civil liberties are actually about. Not to protect the Bad ‘Uns, not even to protect us from the Bad ‘Uns. But to protect the Bad ‘Uns from the illiberalities of government so that we too are protected from the illiberalities of government. This is about protecting us from being stripped of our citizenship.
Think back a few decades. When the Soviets expelled some dissident or other it caused outrage that they would be stripped of their citizenship at that same time. The Soviets insisting that people who didn’t believe the right way could not claim to be part of the homeland. Could not be part of their own homeland. That not being how freedom works – we the people are the homeland. The governance system is constructed by us to allow us to flourish – it is not, or at least should not be – something imposed upon us by those who rule. So too with belief systems. We define them by us citizens defining them, not by government telling us who may be a citizen by believing the right things.
Yes, of course things are different for those applying, but not for those as of right.
That is, if a Briton wants to go sew bombers into their suicide vest then OK. We can – and obviously should – decide whether said needlework is a crime in our books. If it is, we catch and try them, upon that guilty finding we can and should jug ’em. But they’re still Britons all along. Either someone is a Brit or they’re not – how horrible they are isn’t a relevant part of that decision making process.
Don’t forget, we’re the people who adamantly insisted William Joyce was British, against the evidence, so that we could hang him.
This is not to defend Shamima Begum nor her actions. It’s to defend all of us. Government shouldn’t have the power to strip us of our citizenship because we do something government doesn’t like. We’ve a different system for that, jail.