If you live in the UK, you probably have come across Tareena Shakil on the news or maybe on her ITV documentary. She was amongst the women groomed by ISIS and she made a decision to take her one-year-old son and travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. What she also did was quickly change her mind and risk her life to return to the UK. She got arrested here, did her time in prison and went through the deradicalisation programme.
ISIS and its recruits has been a scary topic for me, something unknown, something I don’t understand and something that feels and is so inhumane that I don’t know how to speak about it. However, when I saw Tareena on BBC News late in 2021, I saw a human being advocating for other women not to make the same mistake she had done and it made me pause.
I reflected on my instant reaction. How was I feeling about this? What were my initial thoughts and reactions? How would I feel about giving a second chance to someone who acknowledges their mistake? What if that mistake was a big one?
I decided to reach out and see if Tareena would be open to talk to me and here we are. On this conversation we cover Tareena’s life journey, including her escape from Syria, retur to the UK and life after this. We also reflect on how someone using people’s vulnerabilities can lead them to make the decisions that will be regretted for a lifetime and Tareena also suggests steps people can take not to fall prey to radicalist propaganda.
Find Tareena Shakil:
To learn more about me go to:
LinkedIn: Ance Vanaga
Lovely music created by: Harlowe King
Photo: Tareena’s personal archive