The camera is one of the best liars. A carefully-selected shot can turn a gormless youngster into what looks like an insufferably smug terrorist's moll.
Facebook is fizzing with hatred, indignation and daft solutions. Even the Home Secretary, Mr Sajid Javid, tells the Times “My message is clear – if you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return,” a position contradicted by the head of MI6, who says it is not legally possible.
A 15-year-old girl is living in Tower Hamlets, London. Her family are from Bangladesh, a Muslim country, and Bangladeshis are by far the largest ethnic minority group in the borough. Bangladeshis also suffer from high rates of unemployment. The borough is full of new arrivals and transients. The pupils at the school she attends is "predominantly Muslim."
If she is a well-brought-up girl by the standards of her community, she won't go out much or have much to do with non-family males. In a different world this might protect her from bad influences, but not now the world can rush through your landline and iPhone.
So her family, her friends, her classmates, her local place of worship, the local community... all sharing one clear understanding of the Universe and her place in it.
The school? An irrelevant academic treadmill. It has been rated as "outstanding" by Ofsted in a report whose wording seems more unguardedly enthusiastic than one might expect from bureaucrats. The exam results are stunning; some years later, there are allegations of exam irregularities, a ruthlessly exam-oriented curriculum and management bullying of teaching staff. One doesn't feel it's going to stress Enlightenment values, particularly a culture of suspended judgment with respect to religion.
And then she has a couple of schoolfriends of about the same age...
What is a closely-controlled, hormonal teenage girl's dearest wish?
And how to fulfil it? The Internet will guide you. Within ten days, you will be found a young hero to marry!
Just imagine. Instantly, you'll be the equal of your mother, and more.
And how can she possibly regret anything? What in her life and environment will have prepared her to do that?
BBC News, 23 Feb 2015 - school denies radicalisation happened on-site:
Daily Mail, 15 Feb 2019 - about Shamima's husband:
Birmingham Mail, 15 Feb 2019 - possible loss of citizenship for Shamima?
Evening Standard, 16 Feb 2019:
Daily Mirror, 16 Feb 2019 - on Shamima's husband:
Birmingham Mail, 17 Feb 2019 - transcript of interview with Shamima on Sky News:
Demographics of Bethnal Green North (Tower Hamlets):
Borough profile of migrant population in Tower Hamlets:
Borough profile of Tower Hamlets - unemployment and ethnic groupings:
Wikipedia entry on Shamima's school - "school's population is predominantly Muslim":
2012 Ofsted report on Shamima's school:
BBC News, 10 Feb 2017 - suspension of headteacher re alleged exam irregularities:
BBC News, 10 March 2017 - follow-up on leadership, exams: