Before I go further, let it be clear that I DO NOT, REPEAT DO NOT support any form of terrorism in particular that which is done with the name of anybody’s God, Allah, Bhagwan and Superior Being.
Be it the historical bloody Crusades waged by Christianity or the current futile Jihad trolling by Islamists, all this is wrong and let it be understood once and for all.
As a Muslim feminist, the news that many sisters are leaving their lives to join ISIS as recruit brides is extremely depressing and equally disturbing. When I heard of this 20-year-old British woman of Pakistani origin, left her home in Glasgow to move in Syria where she joined the ISIS and got married to an and ISIS fighter, I was really stunned into silence (something that doesn’t happen very often, I am told).
What made Aqsa Mahmood do what she did? What made her choose what she has chosen?
I want to comprehend this. I tell you I am just trying to understand her reasoning.
Why Did Aqsa Mahmood Go to Syria?
According to reports, Aqsa was reported missing in November but contacted her parents after reaching Syria and had maintained the connection through social media until stories of her involvement with the ISIS came out. It is understood that she traveled with a Canadian Muslim woman known only as Umm Haritha.
I fear that like Dr. Shams, Aqsa Mahmood too have had led different lives had they not set out on a never-ending path of violence and militancy. Did this young woman fall into the trap of helplessness that is being experienced by many angry Muslims on behalf of the wrong doings that are going on against Islam in this idiotic war of terror?
I fear much more greatly that Aqsa Mahmood too has ended up wasted her precious life for fake words and false promises. Her new life is leading into nothing but what she probably set out to change: death and destruction.
The parents of Aqsa Mahmood have been public is voicing their concerns and making a plea for her return. They say that one day Aqsa was home and next she was gone, in a poof. There was no involvement of recruiting tactics, no such organization brainwashing their daughter to do this. Yes, coming from a Muslim family, she was practicing usual religious norms and studying Islam at home.
Her peers too have come out to say that she was normal fun-loving woman, well-integrated into Scottish society and a remarkable college student.
In short, Aqsa Mahmood’s future looked as bright as the sky stars on a clear night.
SO. Why a young bright woman like Aqsa left Scotland to become a Jihadi bride?
In a recent press meeting, her father Muzaffar Mahmood, said that “Our daughter is brainwashed and deluded and helping those engaged in genocide. She may believe that the jihadists of Isis are her new family but they are not and are simply using her.”
Further more; they have made an emotional appeal recently stating that Aqsa’s actions have not just betrayed them, but also Muslim community and the whole people of Scotland. They have urged their daughter to come back from the path she has chosen. The path she chose leads to destruction and despair only.
Aqsa Mahmood’s family members were of the opinion that like many other young Muslims, their young daughter was naturally angry and frustrated at the loss of innocent life in the Middle East and the Syrian conflict. But, they are at a loss to fathom her choice of path for lending a helping hand.
It is heart breaking at so many levels, because Aqsa Mahmood was someone who might have ended up with an opportunity to achieve so much constructively, including helping war-struck Muslims, through volunteering, emergency assistance work or refugee aid with some humanitarian organization. The possibilities were endless, but only if we had no lost Aqsa to the ISIS.
In my mind, there is no doubt of the depth of compassion and strong will of justice that made the very fabric of Aqsa Mahmood’s character.
To me, the whole case of Aqsa Mahmood points at a bigger more unspoken of issue at global level. Aqsa is one of the countless recruits that are young, disillusioned and yearning for a better change.
Only God knows how many more Aqsa’s will be lost to this irreversible destination before the we the world will really wake up. Wake up to the fact that our global youth are forced through a feeling of political and social hopelessness to embrace extremism and fight.
And that we all have our role in forcing them towards this darkness and destruction.