Mothers don’t take their children to a war zone without reason

Allison Pearson and Andrew Gilligan are the best journalists at the Telegraph. Proper journalists.

Two fathers in Bradford weep loudly and publicly for the loss of their runaway wives and children. I don’t know about you, but I felt almost nothing.




I was shocked by how little I felt. By contrast, when I saw the father of those sisters who died at Hillsborough, a man who had to choose between taking one daughter to the ambulance or staying with the other on the pitch, I got tears in my eyes, thinking of what I would have done if they were my beloved children fighting to breathe their final breath. My heart even turned to mush at the sight of a confused hippopotamus escaped from Tbilisi zoo. But for those distraught men in Bradford? Zero. 

I resent the implication from TV news that I should feel empathy for people, or even relatives of people, who join a luridly cruel group whose stated aim is to overthrow our way of life.

Besides, there was something deeply odd about that Bradford press conference, wasn’t there?

Why did the three Dawood sisters travel with their nine children to Saudi Arabia without their husbands in the first place? Why were all those British children allowed to leave school for a fortnight during term time, when there are specific rules forbidding it? On the scale of fishiness, this story is a whale shark left out in the sun for a month. 

Muslim spokesmen warned of the danger of “disengagement”. Labour MP Naz Shah brought up Islamophobia: “We don’t celebrate enough about Muslims,” she said, “[so] the community has to celebrate themselves.”

She doesn’t get it, does she? Every time a Muslim refers to “the community”, which definitely doesn’t include you and me, they put another brick in the wall between themselves and their fellow Britons. It is precisely because too many Muslims have stayed within “the community”, instead of joining wider society, that we are in this horrendous mess. 

It’s painfully simple. I don’t relate to those weeping fathers in Bradford because they don’t relate to us. We share a geographical space but, otherwise, no common ground. And that alienation is truly dangerous.

As is typical with the modern Telegraph comments are closed and many are deleted – but what is left is still very good.



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