In the World–April 11, 2021

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Four years after the fall of ISIS, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, many women and children remain in limbo. More than 500 young women born in the West left their homes to help the Islamic cause and marry ISIS fighters. Some may have been misled and mistreated, but all abandoned their citizenship to join the new Caliphate. A few weeks ago, twenty-one-year-old Shamima Begum, originally from London, lost her court case to be reinstated as a British citizen after marrying an ISIS member in 2015. The tribunal who heard her case refused to repatriate her, citing national security concerns. Whatever the factors that led to her situation, they said, Begum is stateless “as a result of her own choices.”


Following the Exile to Babylon, three waves of Jewish citizens were allowed to return to Israel to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Though they had been exiled as punishment for violating God’s Law, the returning Israelites continued to sin, most notably by marrying foreign women. Ezra cried out to God, and the people agreed to send their foreign wives away, showing how costly it may be to follow God after making bad choices.

  1. If you sat as a judge hearing a case like Begum’s, how would you decide if the person was a national security risk or a victim of fraud and lies?
  2. What’s something significant you’ve given up to follow Jesus?
  3. How have bad choices—yours or someone else’s—resulted in pain or sin?

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David C Cook Editorial

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