The girls were being ‘wilfully groomed’ in effect to buy into an ideology which seemed exciting and a world away from the everyday drudgery of school and all this was being done in the safety of their bedrooms…writes YZ Patel
The eloping of Kadiza Sultana, 16, Amira Abase, 15, and Shamima Begum, 15, the three girls from London has raised serious questions about social media and the parental controls exercised by parents in regards to the home ‘radicalisation’ of would be jihadis.
The question posed is to what extent is it the responsibility of parents to check and see what their children are up to. Most would say if these children are residing under their roof, in their control and below the age of 16, incontrovertibly it is the culpability of parents to ensure that any unsuitable sites they could be clicking on or susceptible to are blocked. Either that or adequate education is given with regards to the vulnerability of the internet.
At this point in time parents are given copious government information with regards to ‘child grooming’ online and this situation is no different. The girls were being ‘wilfully groomed’ in effect to buy into an ideology which seemed exciting and a world away from the everyday drudgery of school and all this was being done in the safety of their bedrooms.
If that is going on something has to be amiss in the role the parents are playing in making aware their children of the dangers. Monitoring and taking an active role into what their children are watching online should be of paramount importance so by proxy they are complicit to the predicament they and their offspring find themselves in.
It is all too convenient to blame outside influences, friends the ‘wrong crowd’. This is just a way of passing the buck, a lazy scapegoat. It is also too easy to recriminate privacy controls on social networks.
It is the neglect of their welfare to allow the situation where someone takes a siblings’ passport and is suddenly in foreign climes and the parents have no knowledge of what has gone on until it is all too late.
To then admonish the ‘evil’ and ‘heinous’ people on the internet for the brainwashing of their daughters is just piffle.
Aqsa Mahmood, the Scottish privately educated jihadi bride was said to be the main protagonist in their radicalisation and the parents of the girls have impeached twitter and other social networks for allowing them to spread their hate propaganda and indoctrinating their brood.
However there is a myriad of unpalatable content on the internet, it is wholly unpoliced. The families quietly forgetting that one of the girls was following over 70 such pro daesh groups. Another had 11,000 followers and consistently posted inflammatory tweets in support of daesh. For that to happen you have to make that effort and have to have that curiosity/ interest, call it what you will to buy into whatever they are peddling. This has been a conscious effort over time. They suddenly haven’t jumped on a plane overnight.
It is not the onus of social networks to babysit the internet, it is the parents’ obligation to put in the safeguards and give the correct taaleem and understanding of world affairs particularly pertaining those that could put their children and themselves in a position such as this.
If these girls were highly intelligent and politicised the parents must have noted this and if they didn’t they are not taking a commensurate concern in them or in their mental and social development.
This blame culture has to stop. The only people accountable for children are their parents nobody else, not the government, schools, Twitter YouTube or Facebook.
The only people involved in bringing them back should be their parents not the police or any of the other UK agencies. Pleas from the local mosque for them to come back and contact their parents is ill thought out desperation. These girls have no regard in what the local mosque has to say whatsoever.
Once they left these shores in the capacity they did why should the taxpayer of this country send out services to ensure their return? If the parents want to bring them back they should bear the cost or employ agencies that can help them do that not Dickson of Dock Green.
As soon as they left passport control they stopped being the responsibility of the UK Government. This is no humanitarian mission. These are highly intelligent straight A pupils who know exactly what they are doing and their cerebral power is beyond their younger years.
In their defence we will be told they are naive, that it was presented to them in a glamourised fashion but plenty of thought has gone into this and this decision has not been made in a week and neither has their radicalisation.
The sooner all stakeholders realise this the better and we can all move on to the next Muslim issue.