There is talk about bringing ISIS women and children home. Before this is done, please consider the following:

ISIS was one of the most vicious, violent, merciless and unjust terrorist forces seen in the modern era. They kidnapped, tortured and beheaded innocent men and women openly; they enslaved whole peoples and bartered women for sanctioned rape; they incited fellow evildoers around the world to murder people at random in the streets; and through it all, they were not shy in the least about showing everybody their true colours. They hid nothing. In fact, their particular brand of evil was their calling card—a selling point to woo those of like minds.

It was this ISIS that wives, child-mothers and girlfriends of Trinidadians followed to Syria. It was not easy, and neither was it cheap. It took a complicated process of smuggling themselves through Turkey against the wishes of most world governments.

However, in the heady days of the wealthy, powerful Caliphate, much money was promised to those who found their way to ISIS. And once there, you lived in a nirvana where the only law punished the “infidel” and rewarded you.

It is said that the women who followed were “obedient” and the children were “abducted”. However, at the time when they left Trinidad, there were no reservations expressed by any, or by any in their circle of loved ones on their behalf. Neither were there any reports made to the authorities concerning any kidnapped children.

Instead, some of the same people now demanding returns were, back then, encouraging their troops to go to Syria and fight, and furthermore, championing their right to do so. Families of some of the most notorious Trinidadian ISIS recruits were unapologetic when their nefarious exploits were publicised, dragging the country’s reputation through the mud.

Even if we turn a blind eye, let bygones be bygones and allow everyone back in, they are returning with their terrorist beliefs intact. It is not simply that they may do us harm, but consider how many people they can infect with their thinking. Trinidadians, with their sense of entitlement and their grievances about everything, would be fertile recruiting ground, and one returning ISIS supporter could multiply exponentially into many local ISIS troops.

The children, of course, had no say in how their lives unfolded. Unfortunately, the sins of their parents have been visited upon them. ISIS indoctrinates all their children in order to shape a new generation and ensure a steady supply of “jihadists”. Some have even already fought in their wars.

There are those who say we should simply monitor returnees. But how do we monitor people’s hearts? And what do we look for? We can’t even catch the obvious murderers; how can we expect to anticipate when a radicalised zealot decides now is the time and this is the instance which requires the mass murder of the “heathen”?

And what about who they would be returning to? Aren’t they the same families who were seemingly indifferent to, or sympathetic of, their leaving to join ISIS in the first place? What kind of change of heart will they engender in them?

I have never heard an ISIS supporter express even the slightest measure of remorse or take any responsibility for their actions, much more to renounce the belief that they continue to have the right to terrorise those they deem to be “unworthy”.

J Joseph

San Fernando

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