An Analysis of the Cases of Shamima Begum and Hoda Mathuna

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Is citizenship a right? Children born in the United States have a right to US citizenship, as long as they are not born to a foreign diplomat. However, citizenship can be revoked if the person:

  • Lies on their application. Foreign-born residents must complete an application process to become citizens of the United States.
  • Owes allegiance to another country.
  • Commits treason. (1)

A citizen is defined as “a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.” (2) Being a subject is defined as “a person who lives or who has the right to live in a particular country…” (3) A right is further defined as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.” (4) Therefore, one can surmise that citizenship is not an absolute right, but one that is eligible by being obedient to the government of which one is a citizen, and acting in a way that shows one is subject to it. An absolute right to citizenship does not exist. If one acts with malice toward one’s country, the qualified right to citizenship can be revoked.

Whether citizenship is a right or not has come center stage in the news lately, as two young girls who ran away to the Islamic state several years ago, now wish to return to their countries of origin. One such case is that of Shamima Begum. As a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl, she ran away from her home in the UK and joined the Islamic State or ISIS. Shortly after arriving in Syria, she married an ISIS soldier, effectively giving aid and comfort to one of the UK’s enemies. During her tenure with ISIS, Ms. Begum gave birth to two children, both of whom died. The Syrian military ultimately arrested her husband, and she fled to a Syrian refugee camp. It is there she claimed British citizenship and asked to return “home” to the UK. In the UK, the government can deprive one of citizenship if the act of doing so is conducive to the public good, and if the person being deprived of citizenship is not left stateless. (5) The UK Home Secretary revoked Ms. Begum’s citizenship, almost immediately after her case appeared in the news. He stated that Ms. Begum could easily become a citizen of Bangladesh, the native country of her mother, and thus not be left stateless. Ms. Begum herself indicated, that while disappointed that she could not return to the UK, she could nevertheless seek citizenship in the Netherlands, the native home of her husband. (6)

Hoda Muthana is another individual recently in the news for wanting to leave ISIS territory and return to her country of origin. Born in Alabama to a newly retired Yemeni diplomat, Ms. Muthana fled to Turkey at the age of nineteen. Once in Turkey, ISIS fighters received Ms. Muthana, arranged a marriage for her to an ISIS fighter, and eventually gave birth to a child of ISIS. Following the substantial loss of territory experienced by ISIS, Ms. Muthana publicly indicated her desire to return to the USA. In fact, she indicated that she has a right to return to the USA because she is a US citizen. In response to her claim and stated wishes, the United States Secretary of State declared that “she does not qualify for citizenship and has no legal basis to return to the country.” (7) In an official statement, the Secretary of State indicated that “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a US citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid US passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.” (7) However, one can easily argue that this is not the case. Born in the United States to a former Yemeni Diplomat, Ms. Muthana is almost certainly a native-born US citizen. Following this line of reasoning, Ms. Muthana’s attorney stated that she “is trying to turn herself into federal authorities and face consequences for her actions.” (7) Some believe, as a result of her treasonous activities, if she is a citizen, should have her citizenship revoked, thus blocking her from re-entering the country. However, citizen or not, it is reasonable to state that Ms. Muthana will not be returning to the USA anytime soon.

If joining ISIS constitutes treason, then both Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana can legally be deprived of citizenship to their countries of origin. But what constitutes treason? In the UK, treason is defined as, “the crime of disloyalty to the Crown.” (8) By joining ISIS, and swearing loyalty to the Islamic State, Ms. Begum most definitely committed treason. Similarly, in the United States, a traitor is one who, “owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, …(and is thus) guilty of treason…” (9) By marrying an ISIS fighter, and adhering to the will of ISIS-a known enemy of the United States-Ms. Muthana committed treason against the US. As previously stated, the US government failed to even recognize her citizenship in the first place and is subsequently refusing to allow her entry into the US period. They could of just as easily recognized her citizenship, and then deprived her of it. In either case, she is unable to return to the United States.

In conclusion, citizenship is not an absolute right. Instead, it is a qualified right that can be revoked if a person commits a crime that fits the punishment. Shamima Begum and Hoda Muthana both constitute cases of individuals, born to western countries, pledging allegiance to ISIS, and committing treason by giving comfort and aid to the enemy. As a result, they are officially traitors, and will not be permitted to return to their countries of origin.

  1. https://legalbeagle.com/8068185-ways-lose-citizenship.html
  2. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/citizen
  3. https://www.google.com/amp/s/dictionary.cambridge.org/us/amp/english/subject
  4. https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2016/nov/14/primer-prisoners-constitutional-rights/
  5. https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/20/shamima-begum-could-the-plan-to-revoke-her-citizenship-be-stopped
  6. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/shamima-begum-citizenship-revoked
  7. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/world/middleeast/isis-bride-hoda-muthana.amp.html
  8. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_treason_in_the_United_Kingdom
  9. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason#Federal

How The Crucification of Christ Changed our Society, Families, and Businesses

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

For millions of faithful followers around the world, the Holy Bible represents the inspired word of God. Some choose to take the Bible literally, while others view it as a compilation of history, symbols, and metaphors. For instance, in the Old Testament, Cain killed Abel, creating a possible metaphor for followers of Christianity to unravel. In the opinion of some, Cain, a farmer, represented the beginning of farming and agriculture. Abel, on the other hand, a shepherd, represented the, soon to be extinct, hunter and gatherer culture. In this story, Abel is the favorite of God the Father, and brings to him the gift of a slaughtered sheep. Cain brings fruit he has raised through agriculture. By rejecting the fruit, and accepting the lamb, one can infer that God prefers not only Abel himself but also the culture Abel represents-that is, hunting and gatherers, rather than farming and agriculture. When Cain killed Abel, it represented, against God’s wishes, the rise of not only agriculture, but also learning, questioning, and the end of the blind, or child-like faith. This arguably personified the dawn of man and the end of our innocence. While God the Father preferred us to be simple-minded and unquestioning, we had “outgrown the playpen,” and any belief in God at that point would be by choice, and not because of ignorance.

The killing of Abel, represents not only the end of the blind following of God the Father, but also the end of wives blindly following their husbands. Before the killing of Abel, both sons blindly followed God the Father. On the same token, within the confines of the home and society at large, women blindly followed their husbands. Essentially, women stayed home and cared for the family, gathering wild fruit and nuts, while the men traveled in bands away from their homes, hunting animals and slaughtering them. When they returned, women would clean the meat and prepare it. Just as the hunter gave the best meat to God as a sacrifice and to give thanks, the gatherer prepared for her husband the best cut, giving thanks to him. After the death of Abel at the hands of Cain, everything changed.

The rise of farming signaled the beginning of civilization, as well as the rise of women in our society. Free from gathering, and now able to exercise their minds, women’s lives expanded far outside the realm of the home. At this point, in the Old Testament Christian tradition, one can put forth that God represents an angry and spiteful figure. To say the least, he is not happy with his rebellious children, who have abandoned their simple lives of hunting and gathering, for the more complicated life of civilization and agriculture.

It can be asserted that the death of Abel foreshadows the killing of Christ. The crucifixion symbolized the death of God as an angry father, and the rebirth of God as something that resides in all of us in essence, an egalitarian figure that assists men and women in making choices of their own free will. In the home, the husband no longer represented the Godhead-instead, God resided now equally in both husband and wife. This is further displayed in the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, where men and women equally ingest the body and blood of Christ, making it a part of them, rather than something that is separate and authoritarian.

Can the crucifixion of Christ represent God the Father approving a new egalitarian social order? One can assert that it most certainly does. With the sacred Host ingested by both men and women alike, the death of Christ initiated a new dawn of civilization, encompassing philosophy, mathematics, and enlightenment. Through history, our free will has led to advancements by both sexes, ultimately culminating in the feminist movement of the 1960’s.

The business world today also reflects the egalitarian changes in society, later affirmed by the crucifixion of Christ. Many new business owners, unfamiliar with management techniques, initially behave as the God of the Old Testament-angry, bitter, and jealous. They fire people who do not do as they say, or who disagree with their opinions. In time, the business owners who succeed are the ones who quickly adjust their method of thinking. This change recognizes that employees are intelligent beings with free will. If employees do as one asks, it is because they choose to do so not because they are threatened if they do not. The need for a strict separation between the shepherd and the sheep is no longer relevant in essence, everyone in a company is part of the metaphorical farm. Some employees plant the seeds, while others water and others harvest. Some employees go on to invent better farming methods. It is essential that everyone is important in the process. The idea of an all-knowing, all-seeing Godhead is gone. Just as surely as we crucified Christ, a new dawn has risen.

The death of Christ, foreshadowed by the death of Abel, symbolizes the end of a primitive society, and the dawn of a new one. Civilized societies, made possible by the rise of agriculture, encompass civilized families and companies, where egalitarianism, as well as free, will dominate. Successful leaders recognize that they are not Godheads. Rather, they guide and influence, recognizing the free will of others as important parts of their family or business model. The recognition of this free will, and the method of guidance as well as the influence it requires, leads to healthy societies, families, and companies.

Does Genetic Memory Play A Role in Modern Day Prejudices?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

When Lisa Halaby married King Hussein of Jordan, she envisioned turning Jordan into a cradle of democracy. A bright-eyed idealist, she used pillow-talk to encourage her husband to launch democratic elections in the kingdom where he held absolute power. She fought hard to embolden women to run for parliament and put behind them her full support. In fact, she indicated, anyone with the desire to better their country could run for office. She encouraged minorities, the poor, anyone with an interest, to step up and make their case for bettering the Hashemite Kingdom. On election day, Lisa Halaby, now known as Queen Noor, waited anxiously for the results of the elections for which she had so dearly campaigned. When the results arrived, she could hardly believe her ears as the courtiers informed her that only approximately 1.5% of the population exercised their right to vote. The polling places remained largely empty throughout the day, with the Jordanian populous almost entirely disinterested in the historic elections occurring. Over the years, this Jordanian statistic has changed very little, to the great disappointment of leaders in Parliament.

Jordan is occupied by clans, encompassed by tribes, who have inhabited the area for millennia. Each clan has a leader, and within those clans are tribes with individual leaders. These leadership positions are largely inherited. There are no elections, as these traditions are intimately intertwined within their culture. The reality is, Jordan is a country created by Great Britain in 1921. For most of the people in Jordan, and for that matter, the entire Middle East, clan and tribal leaders have the largest impact on people’s day to day lives-not a parliamentary leader in a distant city, from a family no one has heard of, and with causes not reflective of their own. The fact of the matter is, the country of Jordan represents a creation for its citizens, but their clan and tribe are very real. The inhabitants of Jordan rely on their tribes for safety, food, and other goods. Real decision making is largely made on the clan and tribal levels, such as business deals, marriages, and alliances. Clan and tribal loyalties comprise the bedrock of one’s existence, and betraying one’s tribe is the most egregious of sins, often resulting in death. Clan leaders arrange marriages within the tribes, allowing for some genetic diversity, but still retaining the familiar culture, religion, and customs. These generational patterns have resulted in different tribes having certain physical characteristics, that indicate their membership without having to say a word. Tribal members have come to expect and to rely on these characteristics when encountering tribal members outside of their safety zones. Members expect safety within their tribes, but on the outside, they expect violence and/or death.

In the Western World, it can be argued that we follow similar patterns of clan and tribal behavior. We all have surnames that denote our clans. Furthermore, many of us belong to churches, that denote our tribes. For those of us who do not attend church, we often ally ourselves with others who share a similar disbelief in God or organized religion, coming together at sci-fi conventions, pot-lucks, and other similar events. New forms of tribalism are coming into play in the form of online meetup groups, focused around similar interests, such as the love of the outdoors.

This way of thinking leads me to ask, has clan loyalty, and its long-term effect on our DNA, contributed to the racism we know of today? Is racism ingrained in our DNA? One can argue, that to a certain extent, it is. We exist today because of the impact clans had on us in the past, including the protections they offered, as well as marital and trade alliances they made. While we may live in a somewhat different world today, elements of this way of life still exist and raise their ugly head in what we now call racism. Put more simply, birds of a feather flock together. We seem inherently more comfortable around people who look like us, talk like us, and believe like us. Nothing is more telling than during the filming of “The Planet of the Apes,” the actors, all dressed in animal costumes, segregated one another according to the breed of animal they portrayed. The film’s producers noted this irony, and it has since been referenced in various anthropological studies. Behind closed doors, people with similar beliefs mock those with other beliefs, as do people with one skin color, sometimes mock those of other skin colors.

“Clan loyalty,” affects social, economic, and marital patterns, similar to those of days past. For example, interracial and interfaith marriages are often considered controversial. A few years ago a family member asked me, in a threatening manner, if I had ever dated a black guy. When I answered, no, he responded with, “Well good, because if I ever caught you with one, I would kill you both.” Similarly, when a member of the Episcopal Church I attended married a person of the Jewish faith, a member of my family stated, “The fact that she did that is symptomatic of the weakness of our church. We just never did enough for our youth.”

What are the solutions for creating a more diverse society? And what are the solutions for overcoming prejudices that are, very possibly, ingrained in our DNA? As a society, we have worked hard to desegregate the schools, eliminate red-lining when offering home-loans, and to rid our language of racist verbiage. Yet still, when we are walking down a city street, encountering people who do not look like us, our reaction is often fear, anger, and distrust. How do we change something that, at times, perhaps contributes to keeping us alive, but then, at other times, hurts people around us for really no reason other than the fact that we have pre-judged them?

One solution for creating a more diverse society is “exposure.” In therapy, “exposure” is known as “therapy to treat anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy involves exposing the target patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Doing so is thought to help them overcome their anxiety or distress.“ (1) Quite simply, by exposing people of different skin colors, religions, and cultures to one another, their distress and/or prejudices they feel toward one another may ultimately lessen and perhaps even disappear. Exposure occurs mostly in the workplace, where employers base their hiring strategies on skill sets and talents, rather than religion, family name, or race. As a result, the American workplace has become, in many cases, a hub for genetic and cultural diversity. Employees eat together, socialize together, and have been known to marry one another. All of this flies in the face of a traditional clan and tribe loyalty, leading to what many are calling a “new America.”

When Queen Noor married King Hussein in 1978, she embraced the history of Jordan, but sought to change its future. What she learned, however, is that the clans and tribes are what rule Jordan, and her husband comprised their tribal head. Jordanians are truly ruled by their clan and their tribe. In many ways, America is the same, but one can argue that the conflicts occurring within our society display that we are trying to change. It can be asserted that the best way to overcome one’s own prejudices is exposure to different types of people and cultures. This exposure is actually occurring in the American workplace. Despite the strides made in overcoming racism in America, we remain a deeply conflicted society. While looking toward the future with idealism, we often are plagued by the genetic memory of our past. While espousing equality and freedom, we often still associate with and marry individuals who look, talk, and believe the same things we do. While many of us continue to evolve into better people, we are often plagued by incidences of the past, which perhaps do not portray the people we are today. For example, the Governor of Virginia is being asked to resign because of a yearbook picture, taken of him in “blackface” in 1984. Is this picture, taken nearly 35 years ago, indicative of who he is today? We are a society on the helm of leaving our clan and tribal past behind, yet still fighting to embrace it. Where will the future lead us? Only time will tell.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_therapy

Does the Non-Binary Gender Movement Threaten the Recognition of Female Special Considerations?

By Katherine Fry, CEO/President Mediafy Communications Group

Raised by a feminist woman of the 60’s, my mother always taught me that, under the law, men and women should be equal. However, she also indicated that inequalities still exist within our society, because of differences biologically between the sexes. The most significant inequality, she told me, exists in the form of economic servitude-that is, women who do not exercise their ability to earn an income and remain economically dependent upon their husbands. This dependency began, she explained, because of the extended length of time it takes to raise a child. Feminism acknowledges differences between the sexes and makes special considerations for them. As a result, our society has taken steps to remedy the social inequalities created by the fact that women give birth and remain the primary caretakers for our society’s children. Examples include insurance that covers childbirth, maternity leave and working hours that allow women to retrieve their children from school. Stay at home positions have also been created, allowing for further flexibility required for childcare. Feminism also acknowledges that, biologically, women have less physical strength than men. Women are more likely to be raped or taken a prisoner of war. Furthermore, a rape occurring during wartime can lead to women giving birth while captive, creating a plethora of additional problems. As a result, placing women on the front-line during a war arguably creates an uneven playing field, thus constituting an unwise situation. Obviously, women have vulnerabilities during wartime that men do not, because of biological differences between the sexes.

The biological sex of men and women is a different concept than the gender roles adopted by them. Gender roles are defined as “a social role encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for people based on their actual or perceived sex.” (1) Challenges arise when individuals perceive their gender roles as different than their biological sex. Some of the American states have requirements that transgendered individuals use their biological sex on legal and formal documents. The problems caused by this have resulted in some parents choosing to identify their children at birth as “non-binary,” or having no declared gender. That way, later in life, the child can select the gender role with which they most identify.

As a woman, I understand the plight of socially disenfranchised individuals-our struggles are similar and the discrimination real. Transgendered individuals are especially vulnerable. I also understand the perceived need not to identify a child’s biological sex on their birth certificate. However, not identifying a child’s biological sex does not negate that their biological sex exists, nor does it negate the special social considerations their biological sex demands. In essence, feminism acknowledges, accepts and embraces these biological differences, allowing for the meaningful consideration they require from our society as a whole so that the female sex can participate as fully functioning members.

The possibility exists that failing to acknowledge one’s biological sex can create an illusion of gender progressivism, while actually contributing to the further economic disenfranchisement of the female sex. For example, couples might simultaneously identify with the gender role opposite to their biology but still fall back into the traditional gender roles concurrent with their biology. In one arguably extreme scenario, the female sex, identifying publicly with the male gender role, gives birth and stays home with the baby, while the male sex, identifying publicly with the female gender role, economically provides for the female sex, and works outside the home. It seems progressive, with a person at home identifying with the male gender role, while the person at work identifies with the female gender role. In reality, however, the fact remains that the female sex is still economically powerless, and indentured to the male sex. Nothing has actually changed, save for the couple’s perceptions of themselves. While the perception of change exists, no meaningful social change has actually occurred. More dramatically, the lack of social change is actually hidden behind a social mirage of progressivism.

Regardless of sex or chosen gender role, one can argue that the elimination of acknowledging and/or providing special treatment for biological differences between the sexes creates further economic disenfranchisement for individuals on the margins. Identifying a child at birth as non-binary does not allow for the recognition and subsequent protections that are required for true social equality. In reality, our sexes are binary even if our perceived gender roles, or lack thereof, are not.

In conclusion, while some elements in our society wish to eliminate formal recognition of societal gender roles, doing so arguably negates the recognition of special societal considerations for which the feminist movement has wholeheartedly fought. Regardless of how individuals may or may not perceive themselves, the biological differences between the sexes remain very real. As a result, one can subsequently assert that any movement failing to acknowledge these differences and to make special provisions toward them is harmful to feminism and the female sex. Any ideology that wishes to eliminate such recognition of biological differences between the sexes will merely delay social change and result in false mirages of it.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_role