Should the ISIS groupies come home?

Western-born ISIS groupies who ran off to Syria to provide comfort to Jihadis have been asking to come home now that, you know, ISIS is about to be crushed in Syria. Their excuse is that they were young and dumb, people make mistakes, they should be forgiven and allowed to come home. On the other hand, people from their home countries are saying hell no.

Well, which is it?

They do have some grounds to ask for mercy: young people are in fact stupid. They can argue that they were manipulated online like so many other young women.

But they really did commit treason, siding with the declared enemies of their countries. Aiding the enemies of your country is participating in violence – either actual or intentional – to your countrymen. It is a violation of both moral duty and the law.

It also violates normal human affection for one’s homeland, though it is doubtful these women ever considered themselves English or American in any meaningful sense. Accepting them back raises the question of what, if anything, does patriotism mean to our national leaders. They invoke national solidarity and patriotism when expecting people to pay their taxes and volunteer for war, how dare they then ignore solidarity and patriotism and not punish a traitor?

I suspect that what people are really afraid of is that their leaders expect one level of commitment from their established citizens, and little to none of more recent arrivals, and that ultimately the leaders have no real commitment to their countries at all.

Personally, I think these women have made their choice (a criminal one), and that they should not be allowed home for anything other than long-term prison sentences. They should be happy to be alive.





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