With the case of Shamima Begum, our emotions must be separate from the law

Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum

The reported decision by the Home Secretary to remove  citizenship from Shamima Begum is a  worrying development.

Inevitably emotions run high over this case – the brutal actions of her apparent former IS companions are unspeakable and difficult to comprehend, nor will they elicit much sympathy from the public – quite the contrary.

 But our emotions and the rule of law must be separated when decisions are made.  In our era of 24/7 instant news, we should not be lured into making instant judgements, particularly when we do not know all the facts.

Britain has much to be proud of in maintaining proper legal procedures, including the right to a fair trial.

The Jewish community knows only too well that we are always better protected  in countries where the rule of law is sacrosanct and where justice is seen to be done.

 As the Torah reminds us, in Deuteronomy “justice, justice you should pursue and administer it without corruption or favouritism”.

 Shamima should be allowed back into the country and the relevant authorities must then decide the appropriate action.

We also need to consider the position of her baby, who despite everything, might well have the right to be in the UK.

The values of our liberal democracy must never be sacrificed for political expediency.

The current political climate in Britain is not a happy one. The far right is being emboldened and racism, be it Islamophobia, antisemitism or anti-black racism is on the increase.

A colleague who came from a country where democracy was struggling, said to me that when countries such as Britain,  which many look up to for its adherence to democratic principles, turns its  back on these principles it gives the green light to despots around the world to do the same.

About the Author
Dr Edie Friedman is Executive Director of The Jewish Council for Racial Equality
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