PARENTS should lock up their children's passports if they fear
that they are at risk of radicalisation, a charity has suggested,
after three schoolgirls from London flew to Turkey, with the aim,
it is believed, of joining Islamic State (IS).
Shamima Begum, aged 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15,
all pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, boarded a flight from Gatwick
to Istanbul on Tuesday of last week. Police said on Wednesday that
they had "reason to believe" that the girls had since managed to
enter IS-held territory in Syria.
On Saturday, Sara Khan, the head of Inspire, a charity tackling
extremism and gender inequality, told The Guardian:
"Parents need help, and the most practical suggestion I can make
is: keep your daughter's passport under lock and key."
Ms Khan published a letter on Monday, "to young Muslim girls, if
you are considering leaving the UK to join ISIS". It warns: "You
are being lied to through a gross manipulation of the teachings of
It is estimated that 500 Western women have migrated to IS-held
territory. A study of their experiences, Becoming Mulan? Female
Western migrants to ISIS, based on the social-media accounts
of 12 women, was published last month by the Institute for
Strategic Dialogue, a British think tank.
Excitement about building an "Islamic utopia", and delight at
the barbarity inflicted on the enemy, is documented, alongside an
inventory of the spoils of war, and reports on the pleasures of
The study includes an exploration of the reasons for migration.
The women talk "at length" about the oppression of Muslims by
Western powers, and express a desire to fulfil their mandatory
religious duty to build a Muslim caliphate and secure their place
in heaven. The sense of camaraderie is strong: the researchers
identified a "search for meaning, sisterhood, and identity".
The unmarried women live, free of charge, in a women's hostel,
and receive monthly food supplies and an allowance. One woman
describes receiving items seized from "the Kuffar" (non-believer),
including microwaves, milk-shake machines, and vacuum cleaners.
Women are forbidden to engage in combat by IS; but those
monitored in the report "revel in the gore and brutality of the
organisation", and "indicate a desire to inflict violence
themselves". One described a video of a beheading as "beautiful".
The authors warn that "the most important risk is that the female
migrants can inspire others, both men and women, to carry out
attacks in Western countries, or to travel to Syria and Iraq."
The picture painted by the migrants is not entirely positive.
Women speak of the difficulty of leaving their families behind, and
there is some evidence that migrants are treated differently from
the indigenous population. One woman describes how a migrant who
experienced a miscarriage was the subject of "mistreatment and
discrimination" in hospital. Another tweeted #Nobodycares
aboutthewidow after her husband was killed. The report suggests
that it may be possible to use the concerns voiced to provide
"counter-narratives" to prevent migration.