Four years after joining Islamic State in Syria, she is now 19 and pregnant. She should be allowed back to the UK
It’s impossible not to feel a jolt of shock when confronted with the photo of Shamima Begum on the front page of this morning’s Times. Four years ago – when we last saw her – it was accepted that Begum had been brainwashed. There was consensus that she was an innocent child who’d been groomed online. Begum was allowed to be the victim in the nation’s narrative – one that over decades had grasped the power and dangers of grooming – because that demanded nothing from us. She was the little girl who’d been caught up in a dangerous death cult; the pixelated image of a kid caught on CCTV about to fly, and that was sad.