NROP: Do we learn through justice, or through mercy?

Almost exactly 4 years ago (give, or take a couple of days), a 16-year-old girl from East London decided to leave her English life behind and move to Syria. She did not go alone. Two of her friends decided to go with her, following in the footsteps of another friend of theirs, who had already made the move.

She pretended to go to school and then to the library, but when she never came home that day, her mother was faced with an almost empty closet of her daughter’s and no note. When the airport cameras revealed that the girls got on a plane to Turkey on their own volition, the family could not believe it. After landing in Turkey, the three teenagers took a bus to Syria to become a part of the jihadi, girl-power subculture.

While men who travel to those regions usually become fighters, women take the more stereotypical roles of caretakers, mothers and cheerleaders. (Of course, that is not always the case, because we have all heard about female suicide bombers.) The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which is “a London-based ‘think and do tank’ that has pioneered policy and operational responses to the rising challenges of violent extremism and inter-communal conflict“, and security officials believe the females to be more dangerous than the males. They are not as likely to die, but are more likely to lose a spouse, which could lead them to come back to the country of origin filled with bitterness. That, in turn, could lead to indoctrination and recruitment of new extremists.

All three girls have married soon after arriving in Syria. They had access to social media, through which they could communicate with their families back in the UK. Even though they reported things they had missed, they did not want to come back. Family members of one of the girl reported not being sure whom they were corresponding with, because of everything sounding so different. So unlike their daughter/ sister/ cousin. They were not sure whether she changed that drastically, or whether there was someone next to her telling her what to type.

Now, all of a sudden, one of the girls decided that she wanted to come back “home” to the UK with her baby.

As you may know, the Islamic State has lost control over the territories they wreaked havoc in for the past few years. The ship is surely sinking, and the remaining survivors want to make a run for it. Could that have something to do with that girl’s change of heart?

Shamima’s husband surrendered to the opposition forces. Two of her earlier children died of malnutrition and the lack of appropriate medical care. How terrible, right? “When I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all, […] It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam. I thought only of what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance.” Those are her words. Now. Not 4 years ago after she escaped and did not know better, but now, when she wants to flee and return to the Western civilization.

Back in the year of 2015, the Police gave the girls a free pass, if only they decided to return, since they have not committed any crimes. However, at this point in time, it is not such an easy decision to make. Especially if you listen to what the girl in question has to say (see quote above). In her own words, she argues that she would like to come back with her kid, because both of them will not survive where she is now. However, also in her own words, she does not regret leaving her family behind and joining ISIS.

I do not understand that girl.

There is another, American, girl in the same camp as Shamima, who wants to return to the US with her child, but she says she regrets joining ISIS, etc. Now, I am not saying I believe her, but I certainly feel uneasy about letting in someone with no remorse (like Shamima). It is true that I do not live in the UK, so I should not care, but I do. For the greater good. I fear that innocent English people will suffer because of her if she gets to come back.

Do I understand her desperation and need for survival? Most definitely.

Do I feel bad for the kid? Of course.

Do I think she should be allowed in? Not at all.

Unfortunately, some people have to learn the hard way. Decisions have consequences. What example are we setting to others if we just allow fans of extremism to live among us?

The Parable of the Prodigal Son comes to mind. One son worked hard, was reasonable and stayed by his father’s side, while the other son took his part of the money and went out into the world to party. In the end, the latter one came back, and the father welcomed him with open arms and even threw a party for him. He had never thrown one for the “good” son, making him bitter.

What is the difference? Remorse. That girl does not have any. She just wants to save herself. Not after her first baby died. Not after the second baby died. But now, when she lost everything.

Also, the Prodigal Son did not hurt anyone else but his family. Who knows what this girl will do? How will she bring up her child?

Do you think she and her kid should be let back into the UK? Why?/ Why not?

If you live in England, how do you think her return could potentially affect you?

If you live in England, what does the public think about all this?

Which technique (and why) is more effective in teaching people a lesson – showing them mercy, or having them deal with the consequences to their actions?

Were your parents easy, or tough on you?

If you are a parent – how do you raise your kids?

Stay golden,



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34 thoughts on “NROP: Do we learn through justice, or through mercy?

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  1. I have heard about this story.
    It also reminds me much about naive teenage girls agreeing to become a model and end up in prostitution.

    I can’t make up my mind about the girl, but the child should not suffer because of the mother’s stupid mistake.

    This exactly why I think there should be a limit to freedom when raising kids.
    First, I blame the parents of this girl. Second the media. Then the girl.
    My parents were tough on me, that’s why I did anything like that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We all know teenagers can be rebellious, but moving to Syria? Extreme much?

      I understand your desire to protect the child. It is innocent, BUT: what will the kid do once he/she finds out that their parents were terrorists? Will the kid be traumatized and need loads and loads of therapy? Will other kids not bully him/ her for being a kid of an extremist couple? Will it be bitter against the West for destroying their father and mother? Will the kid want to continue the battle they fought? There are so many things that could go wrong here…

      I agree that parents are huge factors. That girl’s father passed away, so only the mother was taking care of her. Maybe she was struggling financially and had multiple jobs, and therefore unable to keep an eye on her daughter the whole time? I also fear that it’s the fault of the times we live in. I don’t want to speak for you, but when I was growing up, there was no social media. The flow of information came from teachers, parents, or TV/ newspapers, which were censored by my parents. It’s much easier to rebel in a drastic way in today’s day and age.


  2. Interesting topic Goldie.

    So, first, why are these girls and women, boys and men drawn to such an extremist ideology and terrorist peoples? Because, in the west, in my mind, we too have lost our way. Between all of the feminist stuff, LGBTQ, socialism, anti gun/anti religion/anti misogyny and anti patriarchy stuff. The west is in ruins and perhaps an organization like ISIS with its strict laws and way of life seem simpler and more fulfilling.

    Take child labor laws. I think that kids want to work, yet for some reason, in the west almost exclusively, children and adults are held back from gainful employment. So, kids get bored, when all they want to do is grow up and do something for themselves for a change.

    ISIS, is an opportunity, plain and simple. They buy into the ideology, since that is all that is required to volunteer and fight.

    It’s the same problem with gangs in America. The majority of the members, all they want to do, is to do something where they can be in charge of their own lives and make their own way. The easiest way possible.

    I agree with you Goldie. Once you leave home, you can never truly return. The experiences and ideology that these girls so easily adapted to will forever be in them. They have the ability to infect others with their experiences.

    Imagine these girls returning and inspiring more girls to go there as well. And as well all know, most guys just wanna get laid. So, how many boys and men will be inspired to leave, just to get laid.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, most definitely. It’s really interesting to see how some people want morals to be looser, while others try to make them tighter. I feel like most people used to be in the middle, now, it seems like because there are so many people on one of the extreme sides, some people feel the need to even out the playing field so they go to the other extreme.

      It makes me think of renouncing citizenship. There are people who have done it. To me, it’s a sign of betrayal. Sure, you do have a choice, but don’t come crawling back if you change your mind again. I’m not sure what one would have to do, but I know it’s not easy to become a US citizen anew.

      That’s the thing – teenage brains are so pliable. They have seen things they cannot un-see. Because they have seen such things, their motivation is that much stronger.

      That’s what I’m thinking, too – she will just teach others how to leave without a trace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw an interview with her yesterday. She thinks people should feel sorry for her and her baby. LOL, it ain’t that easy girl, maybe Justin Trudeau would fall for it, but not many would.

        Once you leave, you can never really return home.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you ever watched Caesar Milan, the “Dog Whisperer”? For some reason the majority of what he prescribes for out of control dogs is work.

    It seems the majority of animals must work, to curb their aggression and misbehavior. The less we allow children to work, the greater the odds that they will become spoiled and unappreciative. And, possibly, things like this will continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen an episode, or two, but not many more. I’m usually appalled at the humans for being so clueless about dogs.

      Keeping people occupied is definitely good for our overall well-being. How can people protest and participate in marches all over the country during workweek? No work. We’d have bigger rebellions if we just all decided to stop working. You are absolutely right about the lack of work on kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with you… she should not be allowed re-entry. Unfortunately, England has become weak and ineffective. That’s why their country is breaking down. They have no backbone anymore. Gone are the days of people like Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. They are being overrun by dissidents and extremists. Because they are allowing it. Much like the direction that the United States is heading, sadly.

    I have little confidence that this women will not make it back into the country and contribute to the decline of England.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like you, I see “The West” losing its way and falling apart. However, I choose to hope that with Brexit, the UK is waking up. And I think the US might be, too. I just wonder if it’s not too late and if what we’re doing to reverse it is enough. Sad indeed.

      Also, I do think she will be let back in, too…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think she could return under certain conditions. One, if her parents agree to raise the child at no cost to taxpayers. Two, she agrees to a prison term for say 5 years as a consequence of her poor judgment and treasonous behavior. Then she will prove she cares about her baby more than herself and is willing to face responsibilities like an adult. Otherwise, no.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring up a great point regarding the fact that shouldn’t be everyone’s financial responsibility, but the family’s.
      You propose some great ideas. I think she should be closely monitored for a LONG time, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, living in England this is highly topical and front page news. No-one here wants her back, except for her family. However, the laws in the UK cannot prevent any ISIS members who are British citizens from returning, She will be investigated when she returns and may even be put under surveillance, but her attitude and desire for a ‘free ride’ in the UK has infuriated people, myself included. Other female ISIS members with babies have returned and been given free housing and benefits. Meanwhile, hard working people in the UK who fall on bad times for one reason or another end up homeless on the streets. Something here is not right…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Straight from the eye of the storm. An English perspective. Everyone, give a warm round of applause to our guest – Staurt!

      Thank you for letting me know how things look on the other side of the pond. I was curious. Yea, I’ve briefly researched (a single, simple Google search), and found out that banning someone from coming back is not that easy in many countries.

      The surveillance is a necessary thing, but I feel like there will always be ways around it. And of course, YOU (as a citizen) will pay for that (taxes). I, too, was under the impression that she’s just hoping for a completely free ride, but wasn’t sure how accurate the reporting was. However, having read her quotes in some of the more liberal media, I was stunned.

      I totally agree. It makes me sick how unfair life can be. How some people can get benefits for nothing, while others will work until they die, and still struggle.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Goldie I’ve heard of them and I remember when they have left.
    That’s such a bad decision they’ve made!
    It is true that they have imagined this Islamic state as the Arabian nights with palaces, and vizirs, and cakes and all. It must have been a deception for them at first. But you know, routine leads to a new behaviour. Even if they regretted the first minute they arrived, they became accustomed to the situation.
    Now, as a muslim who has heard of what those barbarians have done, I think it is a danger to bring them back here. But on the other side, their children need support. We can’t separate a mother from her child! Maybe it was best if they’ve sent all of them to Greenland. In a kind of prison. Like the Americans did with the prisoners sending them to Australia. At least the children will be cared of and their moms have time to repent.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s the thing – you get used to things. It seems like she never actually regretted it, which means that she actually liked it there. Whether she was brainwashed, or believed that on her own.

      I think it’s dangerous to bring them back, too. Think of all the innocent children, who have done nothing wrong, but could fall victims in the future?
      A prison island is a great idea, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. of course it is dangerous, not because all of them can take revenge on the innocent people for what the governments have done to isis, but because 1 or 2 can have such ideas and can ruin lives and spread more hatred against Islam which has nothing to do with it. So for people’s sake and Islam’s sake it is better to keep them apart till they change their reasoning.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a hard hitting reality. I wasn’t aware of this story. Being a rebelious kid is understood but taking such a drastic step? From where did she get all the information. Was there someone else involved helping them? The child most likely will have the same notions as her mother. I do not know. Maybe not. It all depends on the morality that her mother is going to teach him. Coming back to home might be dangerous then. This is seriously worth giving a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the thing we don’t know. Everything points to someone else helping them, but I don’t think there’s any concrete evidence of that. Not anyone they can arrest, anyway.

      It’s a very complex issue. I might not want anything to do with what destroyed their family’s lives, but it might also have a vendetta against the West. That’s not something we can know for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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