Returning jihadists and the prodigal son

The Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, was proposing that he should have the power, at his own discretion, to strip an Australian of his or her citizenship. Even if it’s the only citizenship they have.   It was not for any random reason, however, but specifically for use on people suspected of terrorism-related offences.

The proposal was supported by Tony Abbott and it’s a typical half-baked Abbott idea.  Abbott seems to think that every issue involving asylum seekers, terrorism or refugees  needs to be turned into a pissing contest.

The citizenship legislation is no exception. The reasons against the legislation are presented in the article but there is another reason why Tony Abbott is getting this wrong.

And it’s in the Bible: the parable of the prodigal son.

 Rembrandt: The return of the prodigal son

Rembrandt: The return of the prodigal son

Jesus explained the crux of the parable as:

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

So should be with returning jihadists. We should rejoice when they wish to return to Australia.

There has been much handwringing over the problem of young Muslims being seduced by the message of ISIS and the need to find an alternative narrative.

So the return of jihadists presents a golden opportunity to shape that narrative. Here’s a group of people who have experienced the seductive world of Muslim extremism fighting for ISIS and now, deeply disillusioned, they wish to return to Australia.

It’s the same with the so-called Jehadi brides who find that they are not daughters of the revolution but rather  are likely t be living in sexual servitude and squalid conditions, often on rations.

A case in point is notorious Australian IS fighter Khaled Sharrouf’s wife, Tara Nettleton who is understood to be trying to return to Sydney with her five children because of the dire living conditions in Syria.

A recent study study identifies Ms Nettleton and her daughter Zaynab as occupying a “highly significant role” within the group of about 20 Australian women living in the caliphate.

So what do we do with them when they return?

We give them suspended sentences and community orders: five years full-time work in schools telling Muslim children of their experiences in the Middle East. If they don’t do the job well enough, we send them off to jail for the rest of their natural lives.

What a coup to have Tara Nettleton discrediting the ISIS message.

It’s a win-win situation for everybody.

It’s a ready-made narrative that counters the so-called seductive lure of the ISIS message.

But it is not an approach that anyone who is keen on pissing contests is likely to take.

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