Friday 22 March 2019

Paul Williams: 'Smith will face intense scrutiny until she can prove she is no longer under extremist spell'

  

Ms Smith gives an interview to ITV in Syria this week. Picture: Independent.ie
Ms Smith gives an interview to ITV in Syria this week. Picture: Independent.ie
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

The realisation that an Irish woman could be radicalised into a cause hell-bent on destroying western society is shocking because it is so rare.

It is reinforced by the fact Lisa Smith was also a trusted member of the Defence Forces who once served canapés on the Government jet to the Taoiseach, President and senior government ministers and officials.

When or if the 37-year-old Dundalk woman returns to Ireland with her two-year-old son, who was born in the warzone, will present something of a moral, ethical and legal dilemma for the Irish State.

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As a fully fledged Irish-born citizen who is protected by the Constitution, the Irish State cannot refuse her the right to return to her country, regardless of her involvement with this horrific organisation that has been responsible for torture and murder on an epic scale.

The first major issue the Irish security services will want to clear up is to establish exactly what the former soldier was actually doing over the past four years while living in the Isil stronghold.

In the event that Lisa Smith is deemed not to have been involved in crimes against humanity she would then be escorted back to Ireland.

She will find herself under permanent surveillance by gardaí and her former colleagues in Army intelligence.

She will have little chance of leaving the country because she will be flagged on international terrorist watch lists and denied entry to any other country. Security specialists and those with a knowledge of radical Islam believe she is most likely just another victim of the brainwashing used so adeptly by Islamist extremists to radicalise new converts.

Her comments to the ITV news crew that interviewed her prior to her detainment suggest the former solider may have come to the sobering realisation that what first drew her to the madness was based on false promises and idealistic nonsense.

"You come, you see the propaganda, you want Islam, you want to come and live in a Muslim country and environment. No music, no smoking, no fighting, no drinking, no prostitution... you want a clean life like this, that is what you want, but sometimes it is not like this," she said.

The question she will face most upon her return is how and why she was vulnerable to radicalisation in the first place.

How did she end up in a warzone married to a member of Isil, a profoundly misogynistic cult which kidnapped and enslaved female victims and subjected them to unimaginable barbarity?

Once she gets home, she will have to prove she has been de-radicalised and is no longer a fellow traveller of Islamist extremism before the intense scrutiny that is about to pile on top of her will be relaxed.

This revelation now brings to three indigenous Irish citizens who are known to have been radicalised. One of them, Khalid Kelly from the south inner-city, blew himself up while trying to deliver a huge suicide bomb during the battle of Mosul.

Irish Independent

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