As I type this, some people are debating whether I am a racist. They don’t know me. I don’t know them. I doubt they even know each other. But still they rage and Twitter plays host to this farce. Their faux concern has been prompted by a piece I penned earlier this week about the three schoolgirls (aged 15 and 16) believed to have travelled to Syria to join Islamic State.
I dared to venture that these girls aren’t “missing victims” who have been abducted, as the rolling news channels would have us believe. We know where they’ve gone and we’re also repeatedly told by their heartbroken families how intelligent they are. No, instead of treating the girls like the truly vulnerable in our society – like, for instance, those who are sexually groomed – I argued that it’s time to think of them as severely misguided young adults (just as we do with the boys who choose the same route) who’ve made a decision of their own religious volition to leave behind their loved ones and the safety of the UK for Isil.
Cue the mock horror. Oh and the laughable allegations that my views are fuelled by racism. Apparently, as a white woman, I am denying “children of colour a childhood”, according to one outraged blogger. Another demands to know what “qualifications” I have to write such words – while simultaneously accusing me of contributing to the “disenfranchisement of Muslims”.