The UK takes a step toward tyranny

by Chris Bertram on February 20, 2019

The UK Home Secretary, Sayid Javid, has decided to revoke the citizenship of Shamima Begum, who notoriously travelled to Syria at the age of fifteen with two companions and married an ISIS fighter. She is now in a Syrian refugee camp, has now given birth to a child and was reportedly keen on returning to the UK. Begum has given interviews saying that she regrets nothing and that she wasn’t “fazed” by seen the severed heads of those murdered by Daesh. Not an appealing character, but, given that she was groomed as a child by a criminal gang, one who might have been seen as a victim in other circumstances.

The UK government has given itself the power to deprive people of citizenship where this is “conducive to the public good” but the law up to now had been that they had to be satisfied that the person would not be rendered stateless. After all, as we know, if citizenship is the right to have right, statelessness is a condition of near rightlessness. In the present case, they seem to be claiming that a person born in the UK who acquired British nationality at birth can be deprived of citizenship because she is entitled to Bangladeshi nationality through her mother. Shamima Begum has never been to Bangladesh and has no connection to the country. Though her case involves terrorism the UK has also begun to use citizenship deprivation in cases involving “serious criminality”, a vague category that is capable of being defined downwards (as it was when Javid spoke about a group of people recently deported to Jamaica).

Millions of people born in the UK and holding British nationality currently have “access to” another citizenship. It may be Irish citizenship (the entire nationalist population of Northern Ireland!). It may be Israeli citizenship through the law of return. It may be the citizenship of some country in Britain’s former empire, such as Bangladesh. The new expansions of citizenship deprivation theoretically expose all of them to the possibility of exile and banishment to another country should they be convicted of serious crime. The immigration regime has long been one where the rule of law is muted, where due process is little more than what the government says it is, and where means of appeal and assertion of rights are limited. By bringing millions of people into the ambit of such a regime, you render them exposed to a system of arbitrary punishment decided upon by a minister. There are two ways to look at this: either millions of ordinary people are subject to tyranny, or they would never do that to ordinary white people, only to those with a “funny tinge”. Either way lies an appalling vista.

Update: I’ve written a longer blog (and with improved legal information) at the London Review of Books blog.

{ 40 comments }

1

Jim Buck 02.20.19 at 9:18 am

Before we know it, rich criminals will be stripped of British citizenship on the grounds of them having the resources to buy a Maltese passport.

2

Murali 02.20.19 at 9:27 am

Begum is a tough case. I am generally in favour of open borders. About the only exceptions to open borders that seem defensible (that is, the only people a state could defensibly exclude from entry) are for those who are not willing to live peacefully with everyone else. Let us call this the unreasonable persons exception to open borders. It also seems that where you happen to be born is an arbitrary moral distinction. Therefore, if the UK can permissibly exclude someone born far away from residency/citizenship because she is not willing to live peacefully with her co-residents, then it can also permissibly exclude someone born in the UK from residency/citizenship because she is not willing to live peacefully with her co-residents.

The question then is whether Begum is willing to live peacefully with her co-residents. Her lack of regret in joining ISIS makes it very hard to believe that she will a) not engage in terrorist activities if the opportunity arises and b) not raise her children to also similarly engage in terrorist activities.

That said, you are right that current UK immigration policy is too arbitrary and my libertarian inclinations make me averse to investing such a power to exclude in a ministerial position.

3

novakant 02.20.19 at 9:39 am

This is especially hypocritical since the Saudis are a major funder of ISIS etc. and the UK is heavily dependent on selling them arms, as this is one of the last viable UK owned industries left. Consequently they will do anything to keep the Saudis et al happy, never mind state sponsored terrorism / religious extremism.

4

Matt 02.20.19 at 9:40 am

The UK government has given itself the power to deprive people of citizenship where this is “conducive to the public good”

See also, recent developments in Australia, where there is a mad dash to a similar policy, with similar “protections” against making people stateless.

5

Peter T 02.20.19 at 9:56 am

Australia is well down this road…

6

Phil Cole 02.20.19 at 10:08 am

I ran a session on immigration detention in the UK with students this week. They were uniformly shocked that such a practice existed here, and at its arbitrary cruelty. It is another key area where the immigration regime defies what we take to be basic rights under the rule of law, in that a person taken into immigration detention does not know how long they will be there, and indefinite detention is allowed; also the arbitrary suspicions that can lead to someone being taken into immigration detention can entangle a great many people. The case of Anthony Bryan, part of the Windrush generation, and who came to the UK in 1960 at the age of eight, illustrates the cruelty of a practice which, as you point out, is in danger of taking people outside of the protection of the law (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44143458).

7

Matt 02.20.19 at 11:19 am

then it can also permissibly exclude someone born in the UK from residency/citizenship because she is not willing to live peacefully with her co-residents.
The normal way a state does this with its citizens, when needed, is to arrest them, charge them with a crime, convict them if possible, and put them in prison for a set term. At least in societies that respect minimal rights, mere dangerousness isn’t a crime, and so can’t lead to such treatment. As for children, it’s possible to set out clear rules on child endangerment and the like as well, though no doubt there are risks of abuse.

and indefinite detention is allowed
Only in states that do not properly respect basic rights

8

Chilled 02.20.19 at 11:41 am

It’s straight from Trump’s playbook, and it has a chilling effect on anyone who – let’s face it – isn’t white with generations of good Anglo Saxon stock behind them. As a naturalised British citizen I have been more than aware of this reserve card that the Home office has to deport anyone on grounds that are increasingly justifiable on populist whims. Javid’s decision multiplies that fear tenfold. How many of us will be particularly careful about what we say politically, especially given the fevered and sensationalist way in which even innocuous comments are now interpreted ? Or how far we can express some form of identification with the cultures of original provenance without being viewed as a traitor?

9

Fergus 02.20.19 at 12:19 pm

Chris, I’m not sure this is quite right. My understanding,from looking myself and reading what immigration and nationality lawyers are saying, is that the government argues Begum is a Bangladeshi citizen, by birth. So she’s not stateless. Not that she is “entitled to” that nationality, but that she’s automatically acquired the citizenship by being born to a Bangladeshi mother.

In practice for this case it doesn’t make that much difference, because Bangladeshi citizenship which she has no proof of is going to be completely useless for claiming rights or giving her any way to get out of Syria. Particularly given that, as you say, she’s never been to Bangladesh and has no ties to the country.

But it does mean that the government’s argument wouldn’t extend to cases where it really is a matter of entitlement not automatic grant, like the Irish and Israeli rules.

This is based largely on this article, and Colin Yeo’s Twitter is also helpful: https://www.freemovement.org.uk/home-office-shamima-begum/

10

Chris Bertram 02.20.19 at 12:37 pm

Thanks @Fergus. Colin is likely to have this correct, though there seem to be lots of arguments about Bangladeshi nationality law going on on twitter and she’s not in a position to make any such nationality effective by, for example, registering as she may be required to do. So it may be that few people are vulnerable than I thought: the number will still be a lot though, think of all those people who have acquired Irish passports for their children because of Brexit. And many people (and this could include Begum) inadvertently acquire nationalities at birth which they don’t even realise they have, such as those Australian politicians.

11

Barry 02.20.19 at 12:46 pm

It’s pretty clear by now that the UK well along the road to being a ‘fascist-light’ country:

Brexit shows that a minority of Parliament (plus a bunch of rich people) can drive a country over the cliff.

The normal ‘way things are done’ has been lost (May failing multiple votes which would normally dissolve a government.

The Tories have succeeded only in lying and looting; I expect the Tories to successfully exploit their own disaster of a No Deal Brexit to get more power, and up the oppression.

The best that we in the USA can do is to defeat the GOP and then to aid anti-fascist elements in the UK.

12

Mike Huben 02.20.19 at 1:11 pm

Very simply, this ignores the principle of “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law” to rush straight ahead to a punishment (deprivation of citizenship.) Maybe that is too US-centric an idea.

13

Fergus 02.20.19 at 1:51 pm

I think that’s all absolutely right, @Chris. And should add – the government actually does claim the power to make people stateless if the Home Sec has “reasonable grounds for believing” that they could acquire another nationality under the 2014 Act. But I don’t think that’s the power being exercised here. (I’m not sure it’s ever been exercised.)

14

Ben 02.20.19 at 1:51 pm

It’s worth noting that Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction on Statelessness, art. 8(1) of which states that ‘a Contracting State shall not deprive a person of its nationality if such deprivation would render him stateless’. As such, there’s nothing stopping the Bangladeshi Minister for Home Affairs (who may well have first become aware of Ms Begum’s existence when he arrived at work this morning and found the matter waiting for him on his desk) from stripping her of any Bangladeshi citizenship she may have, rather than having to deal with her. Whether stripping her of her UK citizenship when there was a clear risk of this happening would factor in to the UK’s art. 8(1) obligations is anyone’s guess.

As @Chris says, there’s a lot of unintentional dual nationality holders out there—US citizenship works rather like an infectious disease, to the point where there is an entire Wikipedia article on the phenomenon of ‘Accidental Americans’. That’s not even getting into cases like that of Nazanin_Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the UK–Iranian dual national imprisoned in Iran (which does not recognise dual nationality and so considers her a wholly Iranian citizen).

The most fundamental level of UK government cowardice here, however, is the apparent belief that by depriving her of UK citizenship she (and, presumably, her baby) will just disappear. I’m sure Bangladesh are not thrilled to have this ball dumped in their court, and even if they strip her of Bangladeshi citizenship the Syrians/Kurds who are currently holding her (and those like her) still have to deal with her somehow. You’ve also just signalled to those last few pockets of IS fighters that they have nothing to lose so they may as well fight to the death (of themselves and as many others as possible), which is surely not ideal. Ah well, that’s the SDF’s problem.

Consider the structural failings in Britain today that led three bright, straight-A schoolgirls to consider joining the Caliphate a more appealing option than home—surely it is our responsibility to clean up after ourselves by bringing our damaged goods home, to face trial and sentencing as appropriate? To brush them out of sight and out of mind is to do nothing to address the root causes of why so many of them left, and all it will take is another al-Baghdadi to show up and we can repeat this whole, grim cycle once again.

15

Fergus 02.20.19 at 1:53 pm

Sorry, adding to previous – the criteria for using that power are somewhat stricter, though I don’t really know how to translate the exact difference out of legalese.

16

wats 02.20.19 at 2:54 pm

In the Northern Ireland case it’s really the unionist population who would be vulnerable if entitlement to another citizenship were the issue (Fergus’s clarification duly noted however) as this group is made up of British citizens who are also entited to Irish citizenship (some of whom currently hold both passports). Nationalists may or may not also be British citizens (I’m not, but my parents briefly held British passports at one stage) although they’re entitled to be. It strikes me that in the event, however far down the road, of a united Ireland coming to pass, this alarming power to strip Britons of their citizenship could become an issue.

All that aside, Javid’s action is a particularly nasty example of playing to the mob.

17

stevelaudig 02.20.19 at 3:05 pm

I am not able to provide page citations but Arendt in Eichmann in Jerusalem describes the Nazi’s use of stripping Jews of citizenship as a step along the genocide trail. There’s an argument that if you use the methods of the Nazis to achieve the same purpose then there is no material difference and you have become one. Ask the Chagossians, if you can find one, about British genocides. But there it was a little different, they stripped the population from the ‘state’ not the ‘state’ from the population. little difference from the Chagossian point of view. And reactionaries claiming to be conservatives wonder why the West is no longer [to the extent it truly ever was outside of propaganda fantasies] a model.

18

Daragh McDowell 02.20.19 at 3:11 pm

“It may be Irish citizenship (the entire nationalist population of Northern Ireland!).”

Just a quick technical note – Irish persons are not considered ‘foreign’ under the 1949 Ireland act, hence our ability to vote in parliamentary elections etc. That is – if an Irish-British citizen was stripped of their British citizenship, as a matter of law it probably wouldn’t make any practical difference to their legal rights.

That’s not to say this whole thing isn’t atrocious, which it is.

19

Guano 02.20.19 at 3:18 pm

Correction:- The UK takes another step towards tyranny.

20

mpowell 02.20.19 at 4:19 pm

It seems clearly wrong that ‘serious criminality’ should be the standard for stripping someone of citizenship, regardless of whether this makes them stateless or not. But if the crime is itself philosophical commitment to and participation in violent opposition to the state itself I think this is both fair and also extremely narrow in application. I don’t know whether it is the best policy, but I would not find it objectionable. But if that is the approach the state wants to take, the narrow standard should be appropriately formalized, not administered by whim of the relevant administrative body. And, of course, due process rights should always exist for any process that strips rights from an existing citizen. A lesser standard might be justified for non-citizen immigration cases, but certainly not in the case of an existing citizen.

21

Chris Armstrong 02.20.19 at 4:23 pm

Chris, if you’re right then this potentially applies even more broadly. The policy could apply to anyone born in Northern Ireland, whether they’re nationalists or not. It could also apply to millions of people born on the mainland who have an Irish grandparent (so me included). And so on.

22

Chris Bertram 02.20.19 at 4:44 pm

@Chris as @Fergus points out I may have got this slightly wrong. For those who have citizenship by birth it has to be actually the case than you have another nationality and not that you are merely entitled to one. (Though you can have another nationality without being aware of it.) Protections for the naturalized are weaker: the Home Secretary merely has to have a reasonable belief that you could get another nationality if you applied. Either way, there are a lot of people potentially encompassed.

23

hix 02.20.19 at 5:21 pm

In Germany, we just got a similar debate about wheter IS fighters of German nationality who are prisoners of war with Kurdish forces should be allowed back to Germany. The Kurds would very much support that and get rid of them in a human way like that. Now right wing German politicans got a big problem with that: That stupid rule of law. Since its difficult to proof they did something illegal many might not be punished! And one can never ever let a guilty person go unpunished if its a muslim…. So lets just not take them back (im not sure how they want to prohibit return, so it might be a less obvious breach of legality than just revocing citicenship).

24

Sebastian H 02.20.19 at 5:39 pm

Ugh. Why do governments have to get so tricky? Just let her into the country and arrest her. There are all sorts of perfectly normal ways of dealing with this.

25

Dipper 02.20.19 at 8:02 pm

Support for removing Shamima Begum’s citizenship is thin on the ground, with right-wing libertarians commentators such as Julia Hartley-Brewer, journalists such as James Forsyth in The Spectator, and even Jacob Rees Mogg joining in criticism of it.

The thing all of those commentators mentioned above, all the people posting on here including Prof Bertram and myself too all have in common is that for us it is a costless decision. The Home Secretary has to balance the citizenship decision with the consequences of her coming back to the UK and being tried – and the trial failing to secure a guilty verdict. So it is worth looking through some of the comments in this Guardian article which refer to the law, and I do wonder if Javid has had advice that it is unlikely the UK would be able to get her in prison. – much as hix says is the case in Germany.

The UK government has a history of avoiding trying ISIS terrorists in the UK, such as “The Beatles” and Jihadi John. In particular, the case of Reyaad Khan would seem in many ways to be worse than the Begum case, in that it appears the UK government chose to execute a UK citizen in Syria rather than have them return.

The suspicion lingers that the desired solution of many – bringing her and other ISIS members back and imprisoning them for long periods of time – is not legally likely, and that the choice is actually dealing with the problem overseas or having people who have openly been engaged in beheadings, assassinations, forced slavery and prostitution walking the streets of the UK.

Personally, I don’t like the decision to remove citizenship, but if I was the Home secretary and this came across my desk, I think I’d be heavily engaged in arse-covering by getting as much advice as I could muster, and as stated above I think some of this advice would be warning of the unlikelihood of a successful prosecution. I hope I’d be able to get some kind of consensus round a decision, but I think Sajid Javid has got Leadership Fever and is making populist decisions to try and swing the vote when May steps down. Which is a shame.

26

Z 02.20.19 at 8:20 pm

A stunning and abysmal development.

In France we have the same problem (or maybe “problem”, as it is a problem only if you abandon the most basic tenets of humanity and the rule of law) with children born in Daech-controlled area of French jihadist parents who are now jailed in Iraq (though of course they committed no crime, as they are infants or very young children).

Ugh. Why do governments have to get so tricky? Just let her into the country and arrest her. There are all sorts of perfectly normal ways of dealing with this.

The idea is probably that it is unclear what she would be convicted for, for how long a term and especially and that there might be public outcry (stirred up by right-wing media) after her eventual release. Perhaps people will just forget about her if she remains long enough in an isolated hellhole.

Call that the Guantamo way to deal with a problem, if you wish.

27

KC 02.20.19 at 10:35 pm

I recall reading in the U.N. declaration of Human Rights that it is a Human Right not to be arbitrarily deprived of citizenship. Also, I think freedom of association is a human right. Anyway, would be good to get a view from the UN Human Rights council on this matter.

28

Dr. Hilarius 02.21.19 at 12:50 am

The US, at the behest of Trump, is taking a similar position in regard to an American woman who joined ISIS by claiming she never was an American citizen. Ms. Muthana had an US passport, renewed at least once, and was born in New Jersey to Yemeni parents. The US is claiming that because her father had been a Yemeni diplomat she did not acquire US citizenship at birth. It does appear, however, that the father had given up his diplomatic status prior to her birth. So, off it goes to the courts. https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/20/politics/hoda-muthana-state-department/index.html

29

Birdie 02.21.19 at 5:52 am

Can the UK compel Bangladesh to issue a passport? And otherwise defend Begum’s rights? If Begum can’t claim citizenship on her own, I don’t see why the Queen can do it for her. That’s the point with Warren’s ethnic controversy: you are “an Indian” if and only if some tribe claims you. Likewise the right of return requires that Israel recognize your claim to be a Jew.

Exile used to be a legitimate remedy for anti-state offenses but these days there is no away where people can go. All frontiers have become borders and the tyranny of states is established. But meanwhile God must love the Stateless, he’s busy making more and more of them.

30

Chris Bertram 02.21.19 at 7:37 am

@Birdie, Bangladesh is currently saying that she isn’t a Bangladeshi national. There are past cases where governments have said that, but the courts have determined differently.

31

RichieRich 02.21.19 at 8:38 am

Dipper @25 writes

The suspicion lingers that the desired solution of many – bringing her and other ISIS members back and imprisoning them for long periods of time – is not legally likely, and that the choice is actually dealing with the problem overseas or having people who have openly been engaged in beheadings, assassinations, forced slavery and prostitution walking the streets of the UK.

As I understand it, according to Section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000, membership of a proscribed organization such as ISIS carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Is there some doubt that she could be imprisoned for a lengthy spell under the Act?

32

Chetan Murthy 02.21.19 at 10:01 am

Chris, I appreciate your making this post.

As an immigrant to America, and a patriot, I was initially pretty angry at both Ms. Begum and esp. Ms. Muthana. In both cases, I felt like: “a minimum requirement of citizenship is that you don’t make war against your country, ffs”. But due to this post, and also reading the words of many people in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/20/what-do-experts-think-of-revoking-shamima-begums-citizenship ), including (amazingly) George Osborne (yes, -that- George Osborne!) I realized that this is a wrong position.

When natural-born-citizen white supremacists are stripped of their citizenship for their crimes, and expelled to who-knows-where — maybe put on a raft and pushed off into the Pacific? — maybe we can start talking about stripping these natural-born citizens of their citizenship. But until then, these are *natural-born citizens*, and if citizenship means -anything-, it mustn’t be stripped from such persons.

I myself am naturalized, and have always understood that my citizenship is conditional: part of my oath includes that, if called to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, I will appear. But this is not the case for the natural-born, and …. again, unless there is equity in the way these cases are handled, what’s happening is rank injustice.

As for the risks to the polity, I take those -very- seriously. It’s possible that we will need to invest significant resources in monitoring, education, etc. It’s possible that we will need to insist that their children are raised by others (certainly for Ms. Begum, who seems unrepentant, that seems wise). I don’t know. But as an American, I know that the vast/vast/vast majority of terrorism in my country is perpetrated by white men, right-wing nutjobs, and *nobody* talks about stripping them of their citizenship.

33

Ed 02.21.19 at 2:00 pm

You “Supreme Court” has decided that you “government” has no duty to protect anybody. “Citizenship” is a scam.

34

Dipper 02.21.19 at 2:33 pm

@ RichieRich “As I understand it, according to Section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000, membership of a proscribed organization such as ISIS carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Is there some doubt that she could be imprisoned for a lengthy spell under the Act?”

I’m no lawyer, but there would seem to be quite a lot of doubt. Whilst journalists who make a living out of being outraged are outraged, there has been a distinct lack of Lawyers spelling out exactly how Begum is to be brought to justice. In The Guardian article linked to above the Barrister Lord Anderson says “we don’t know how serious this woman’s criminality was in Syria, if indeed she broke UK law at all.”. Tory MP Tom Tugandhat has called for new laws, so presumably he thinks the current laws aren’t sufficient. And if we are to infer motivation from behaviour, then Javid is behaving as if he thinks he lacks the legal means to lock her up.

Which is not to say Javid’s decision is right. It seems to create many problems whilst not solving any. Getting public sympathy to swing behind someone who openly justifies bombing children at a pop concert would seem to be a difficult challenge, but he seems to be managing it.

35

Joshua W. Burton 02.21.19 at 4:23 pm

By bringing millions of people into the ambit of such a regime, you render them exposed to a system of arbitrary punishment decided upon by a minister. There are two ways to look at this: either millions of ordinary people are subject to tyranny, or they would never do that to ordinary white people, only to those with a “funny tinge”. Either way lies an appalling vista.

Ignorant colonial speaking here, but it seems to me that after five million British subjects were denied UK citizenship in 1997, the fundamental principle was established and the alleged vista is just ordinary brutal realpolitik-as-usual. (Singapore in 1942 was of a similar funny tinge to Hong Kong, but was heroically though unsuccessfully defended from tyranny at desperate cost. In both cases, the decision was ultimately ministerial.)

36

Wesley Sandel 02.21.19 at 5:19 pm

Were Bush, Clinton, and Blair fazed by the 500,000 Iraqi children who died as a direct result of their sanctions? Or my the mass murder of Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers with sniper rifles.

Please, don’t pretend that ISIS is violent and inhuman and that the West isn’t ten times as violent and inhuman.

37

BobbyV 02.21.19 at 6:54 pm

“Approximately one million five hundred thousand Russians were deprived of their
citizenship by the Soviet government in the aftermath of the revolution and the civil war period … The stateless were truly men without any political community. No country wanted them or cared about their fate.” Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History

38

Wild Cat 02.22.19 at 4:21 pm

37. BobbyV

LMFAO:

Rubenstein was a defender of the Unification Church and served on its advisory council,[1] as well as on the board of directors of the church-owned Washington Times newspaper.[6] In the 1990s, he served as president of the University of Bridgeport, which was then affiliated with the church.[7] Rubenstein said about the church’s founder Sun Myung Moon:

I especially appreciated Rev. Moon’s commitment to the fight against Communism. From his own first-hand, personal experience and out of his religious convictions, he understood how tragic a political and social blight that movement had been. I had been in East and West Berlin the week the Berlin Wall was erected in August 1961 and had visited communist Poland in 1965. Unfortunately, many of my liberal academic colleagues did not understand the full nature of the threat as did Rev. Moon. I was impressed with the sophistication of Rev. Moon’s anti-communism. He understood communism’s evil, but he also stood ready to meet with communist leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Kim Il Sung in the hope of changing or moderating their views.[8]

39

Dipper 02.22.19 at 5:55 pm

… and here is Fraser Nelson making the case that Shamima Begum would be free within a few months.

Still a rubbish idea to remove her citizenship though.

40

Chetan Murthy 02.25.19 at 7:56 am

Dipper@39: [from the link you posted]

If Begum did come back and was at large, officials fear that she would become a lightening rod for extremists on both sides: jihadis who would venerate her, and EDL types who would use her case to rally support. She would not spend long behind bars. Living in ISIS-land in itself ought to have been enough of an offence to merit prosecution, but that law was only passed a few weeks ago. It doesn’t apply retrospectively.

Interesting. If indeed this person is such an attractor of bad elements, one would think that the security services would just bug every single communication, and harvest all the product. There aren’t many such people, after all. And sure, maybe there ought to be laws passed to criminalize joining up with “bad guy terrorists out to hurt our country”, and perhaps (perhaps) even specifying that one of the punishments would be revocation of citizenship rights. If these laws are to have any justice to them, they would need to be applied uniformly — so people in the UK (whether of Irish descent or not) who might participate in IRA bombings (or, heck, Unionist bombings) ought to be treated like ISIS members and supporters. It could get interesting there — somebody who gives aid and comfort to ISIS supporters — how are they different from some person in the UK who provides aid and comfort to IRA bombers? — but regardless, unless these laws are enforced equally, they’ll cause untold grief.

And of course, there had better be some serious education so that people understand the consequences of supporting “enemies of the nation”.

Just to be clear, *instinctively* I’m pretty pissed-off at people who wage war against my country. I’m a patriot, after all. But I can recognize that those people include [here in the USA] Timothy McVeigh, Dylann Roof, and Robert Dear. Any “law” that treats these people differently than Hoda Muthana, is unjust.

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