Britain’s Lost GirlsThe ‘ISIS brides’ knew what they were doing. That’s the problem. Britons have anxiously followed for nearly a week the hunt for three missing teenage schoolgirls who aren’t “missing” at all. The trio appear to have evaded efforts to track them down as they journeyed to Syria to join Islamic State. Authorities say the three girls lied to their families about their plans for the day on Feb. 17 to buy time to fly from London’s Gatwick Airport to Istanbul. From there they are believed to have traveled into Syria. One of the three allegedly was in contact via social media with Aqsa Mahmood, a 20-year-old Scottish woman who also became an Islamic State bride after she left Glasgow in 2013. The three apparently intend to do the same. This has prompted tearful pleas from their families for them to return, and a promise from Prime Minister David Cameron to help. A debate is afoot on what rules should be in place to prevent unaccompanied minors from boarding planes under such circumstances, and how else government might intervene. There is an element of predation to this case and others like it. Targeted for their impressionability, the girls were probably bombarded with messages from online contacts about the supposed religious utopia awaiting them in the Middle East, coupled with denigration of the Western societies in which they lived. Yet to suggest, as Mr. Cameron also did, that these young women were “duped by a poisonous ideology” downplays the extent to which they likely were active participants in their own radicalization. By all accounts they got good grades—so much for the State Department’s plan to combat terrorism with better education—and one shouldn’t assume they’re stupid. They schemed effectively to raise the money for their journey. They also appear to have studied up on how to avoid looking suspicious during the trip. While they were preparing their departure, global media reported Islamic State’s beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians on the Mediterranean shore. Several weeks earlier Islamic State burned to death a caged Jordanian air force pilot. Reports also abound of Islamic State’s crucifixions of “infidels” and beheading of other journalists and aid workers. Put simply, the teens had ample opportunity to learn all about the evils of Islamic State. They chose to ignore those warnings or—more likely—to accept an interpretation of those events as signs that Islamic State is more religiously pure than their parents’ homes or their East London neighborhood. Islamist proselytizing is a complex phenomenon capitalizing on youthful idealism, rebellion and suspicion of authority. Stopping it will require less tolerance for radical preaching (a particular fault of Britain’s for years), better parenting and oversight, and defeat of the proselytizers themselves on their distant battlefield. One thing that will not help is infantilizing the teenagers as victims of some blob-like online force, or denying the explicitly religious motivations behind their actions.
Response to “Britain’s Lost Girls”, WSJ, February 25, 2015The Journal is lucid and correct, this wet off- point response from Prime Minister David Cameron confirms the state of denial of PC laced western leadership with regard to the source and nature of Islamist radical ideology. These “innocent ” girls were not tricked into joining the ISIS band in Syria. Nor were they kidnapped or stolen. They were by all accounts intelligent thorough participants in their fate. The real truth is good riddance. The real reaction of Western leadership should not be the pretense that there is some hypnotic spell by a witch doctor that took control of these Islamists but rather the jagged edge of the teachings of the mosques who cultivate and breed these convictions in Islamic youth. It is past due to acknowledge the problem and eradicate these “centers of Islamic teaching. The illiberal culture of tribalism confuses the true western values of freedom of religion and expression with a convoluted notion that insists that we must subordinate those values to the tyranny of a faith that is diabolically opposed to the same in every instance. It is in a word cultural suicide. David Cameron’s irresponsible reaction consciously avoids this truth in again an illiberal effort to embrace the very diet of evil that will seek to annihilate us. These girls have affirmed their rejection of our ways. It is a failure of family, their faith and our tolerance of evil. They should be stripped of citizenship and barred from returning. And by chance should they show up on the field treated as the enemy combatants they so dearly idolize. Robert F. Agostinelli London , England
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