Begum’s Citizenship

By Hobhouse

Sajid Javid has deprived Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, in a move that could see the 19-year-old and her child become stateless. This brash decision not only stands directly opposed to our agreed upon Human Rights, it also makes Britain a hypocrite. And for what? The Conservative party to avoid a few days of “bad” press and for Mr Javid to perceived as a “true” statesman? This is a decision born out of political cowardice and is designed to push a conversation — that would examine why young British people become compelled to initially fight for ISIS — underground.

Britain regularly seeks to deport known terrorists to their natural home states, yet in Begum’s case we seem unwilling to take responsibility for one of our own. How can we presume any semblance to seriousness when we apparently preach for one set of values yet act on another?

However embarrassing it is to acknowledge, she’s still British: Begum was born in this country, raised here and attained her education here. There’s no denying, although Sajid Javid would try, that she is British.

As a liberal democracy, our first instinct should be to take charge of returning her home, investigating her and, if sufficient evidence is produced, letting British justice prosecute her. It should be a matter of liberal pride that we seek to ensure that any British citizen is afforded the right to a trial and justice. A prosecution of Begum, something that she even accepts as being inevitable , would simply be an act that adhered to the rule of law and our values.

Sajid Javid has taken the decision in an attempt to appeal to the base of the Conservative party that holds the opinion that the British government has far too long been soft on Islamic extremism. Because of this, it allows the government, and Britain as a collective, to ignore the fact that a 15-year-old girl, who went to a British school, could be radicalised in this way. Stripping Begum of her rightful British citizenship allows for the further avoidance of a conversation we need to have if we’re to disincentivise more young people becoming like Begum.

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