Who Least Belongs?

No hijab, no burka now. No family, no state. How did we allow this? A Muslim
girl in the western World, were you oppressed, alienated? Induced to seek
somewhere to belong? Found by the sisterhood of Jihadi wives, were you
convinced you could build Utopia – secure your place in Paradise? Were you
lured by a romantic dream to find that tall, dark Mujahadeen? Did you believe
the fairy-tale of love ever after, the divinity of motherhood?

Groomed. Some say radicalised. Whatever – vulnerabilities were
exploited. Trafficked into a war zone at fifteen. Married to a stranger to
escape the horrors of the women’s house. By twenty you had watched three
babies die, your husband imprisoned, the caliphate crumble. A tabloid witch-
hunt transformed you from innocent to monster, a threat to our national
security. How did safeguarding become terrorism? Guilty without trial,
stripped of your citizenship, made stateless – Shamima Begum – just one of
19 British women and 39 children trapped in a Syrian refugee camp. Treated
as less than human in conditions that amount to torture. More than 400 IS
affiliated men have been repatriated to the UK. You have been abandoned by
your government, repatriated to nowhere. Belong nowhere.

Cate Anderson