Prevent Watch

If Shamima Begum is to be prosecuted at home, the public must be told exactly how she was radicalised

I have no sympathy towards Shamima Begum for joining Isis. However, I do have serious concerns as to how our society allowed this to happen. And as speculation grows over whether she will now be prosecuted at home – despite government commitments to strip her of her citizenship – that is still not clear. In December 2014, 15-year-old Sharmeena Begum was the first London schoolgirl who left to go to Syria. Her father, Mohammed Uddin, was so concerned about her friends that he informed the police and the asked school to keep an eye on her friends. But in February 2015, friends Amira Abase, 15, Shamina Begum, 15 and Kadiza Sultana, 16, ran away to Syria. The case of Shamima Begum is under discussion again this week as it emerged that journalists who met and interviewed the young Isis recruit inside a refugee camp have been asked to turn over […]


Lessons from the Shamima Begum case: Racist populism and collective guilt

Jahangir Mohammed says the Shamima Begum case demonstrated the power of populist propaganda and racist laws in holding Muslims collectively guilty for crimes they didn’t commit. The mainstream media (MSM) often drives itself and its consumers into a cycle of racist frenzy. This tends to result in calls for new laws and actions against those perceived as “foreign”, and not really belonging on these shores, usually Muslims and people of colour. Read more


Under the UK’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Shamima Begum Was Never Presumed Innocent

Over the past few days, 19-year-old Shamima Begum – one of the ‘Bethnal Green trio’ who left the UK to join the Islamic State (IS) in 2015 – has been very much in the media spotlight. Since the publication of her interview with The Times journalist Anthony Loyd last week, public debate has raged about whether or not Begum should be allowed to return to Britain. On Tuesday home secretary Sajid Javid announced Begum’s British citizenship had been revoked – a decision that, as many have pointed out, contravenes international law. This choice to render her stateless not only shows how tenuous ‘belonging’ is for BAME British citizens, but is yet another example of how the government’s ‘Prevent’ agenda – the key counter-terrorism apparatus in the UK – is grounded in the preemptive denial of innocence and belonging. Read more


Comment | Where does Shamima Begum exist?

In 2015, 15-year old Shamima Begum travelled to Syria. Having been groomed online, she was married into ISIL and became known as one of the three ‘Bethnal Green girls’. Over the past four years, Shamima — along with Amina and Kadiza — have been featured in Prevent training sessions as a ‘hard lesson’ to be learnt. Four years later, after her escape and the suspected extrajudicial killings of her two friends by drone attacks, Shamima emerged earlier this week on our TV screens. She was in a refugee camp in Turkey and was asking to come back home. Read more