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Lured by ISIS; U.K. Unveils "Educate against Hate" Campaign; Fighting for Free Speech at Oxford; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 19, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hello, everyone. Tonight: part two of CNN's exclusive look at the women lured by ISIS.


HANANE, ISIS SLAVE (through translator): I know there are some girls who want to come back but they just can't. It's torture for a woman there.


HOLMES (voice-over): I'll be speaking with a lawyer who represents the families of people who have left to join the terror group.

Also, free speech, whether debating radical views or the legacy of a controversial university forefather. Christiane's interview with the first

woman to lead Oxford University in its 800-year history.


LOUISE RICHARDSON, VICE CHANCELLOR OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY: . university students should be exposed to ideas they find objectionable. I am not

interested in creating comfortable spaces.



HOLMES: And good evening, everyone. Welcome to the program. I'm Michael Holmes, in for Christiane, who is on assignment in Davos.

Well, 3,500 slaves, nearly 19,000 civilians killed, 3.2 million people displaced. The violent impact of ISIS' murderous campaign in Iraq revealed

today, the United Nations releasing a new wide-ranging report.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it says ISIS has committed abuses against civilians that amount to, quote, "war crimes against humanity and possibly

genocide." And there is still no end to the suffering for some.

The U.N. says most of the 3,000-plus ISIS slaves are women and children from the Yazidi community.

Now yesterday we brought you CNN's exclusive look at an intervention that saved one young woman from ISIS. Now in the second part of her

investigation, CNN's Atika Shubert found another woman who wasn't nearly as lucky.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hanane was lured to ISIS territory in Syria with pictures like these, promises of an Islamic

caliphate that was, in her words, "a paradise without racism or greed, guided purely by Islamic principles."

Instead, she says, she was imprisoned, beaten and accused of being a spy after refusing to marry an ISIS fighter.

HANANE (PH) (through translator): I did not understand. These girls were supposed to be my sisters. They said they loved me. They said I was smart

and important to them.

They'd invited me to their house. We ate together. We were doing everything together. I never did anything wrong to them but they wanted me

dead because I refused to get married.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Hanane was lucky. An ISIS court ruled there were not enough witnesses to convict her, she says. She managed to convince her

jailer to let her go. She spoke to us on condition we do not reveal her face. She is now in France under police observation.

HANANE (through translator): When I got back to France, I was considered as a girl who tortured people, like a monster who came back, pretending to

be a victim. I didn't hurt anybody there. The only person I hurt was myself.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Dounia Bouzar is the woman spearheading France's deradicalization program, also Hanane's counselor.


SHUBERT (voice-over): Muslim and outspoken, Bouzar says she understands victims like Hanane because she was the victim of an abusive relationship


DOUNIA BOUZAR, DERADICALIZATION PROGRAM (through translator): The fact is I went through a moment of my life when I didn't feel like myself, when I

was dominated, when I thought everything was over.

I think that's now a strength that shows that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. There is a future. I tell those parents that their children

are going to make their way through this difficult moment.

Your child will save others.

I'm sure that their experience will help France in the fight against terror.


BOUZAR: (Speaking French).

SHUBERT (voice-over): Bouzar says the testimonies of returnees like Hanane are critical to turning recruits away from ISIS. But her work has also

made her the target of ISIS death threats. She travels with at least two bodyguards.

BOUZAR (through translator): We are caught in a human chain and we become a wave, crashing against these ISIS words. We will win because we love

death more than you love life. We are constantly trying to prove that we will win because life is stronger than death.

We get sucked into it. We need protection such as bodyguards so that we don't forget that there's still the danger out there.

SHUBERT (voice-over): That is something Hanane cannot forget.

SHUBERT: For those people who want to come back and feel like they won't be accepted back into society, what have you learned from the process and

from speaking with Dounia?

HANANE (through translator): I always think of these girls. I'm angry at myself because I could get out but I left them over there. Sometimes I

think I should have stayed to plan a better escape and leave with other people who wanted to leave Syria.

I know there are some girls who want to come back but they just can't. It's torture for a woman there, like you can't even breathe.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Hanane says she now knows that paradise she was looking for exists only as ISIS propaganda, a catastrophic mistake she is

hoping that Bouzar can help to slowly undo -- Atika Shubert, CNN, Paris.


HOLMES: And all over Europe, governments are struggling to curb radicalization. Today the U.K. unveiled the Educate against Hate campaign,

a website for parents and teachers to help tackle extremist ideology.

British lawyer Tasnime Akunjee is critical of the U.K. strategy. He represents the families of two of the three East London girls who fled to

Syria last February. And he joins me now.

First, your reaction to Atika's piece, which I know you were watching there.

What do you think of the French approach, the counseling that, also as we heard there, the testimony of those who come back being used to stop others

getting radicalized, what do you think of it?

TASNIME AKUNJEE, LAWYER: Well, it's exactly the sort of approach we advocate on the U.K. site. And, frankly, we're at a bit of a loss as to

why the U.K. government haven't adopted a similar strategy to try and dissuade young girls from finding themselves in a war zone.

That there are returnees here; they clearly have a story to tell. And indeed the power of propaganda often doesn't actually continue its force

once confronted with actual truth and reality.

So the idea that we don't have -- we don't allow them to speak freely is a bit of an ungoal (ph). I think the French seem to have got the mix right

on that front.

HOLMES: What I want to talk a little bit more about, the U.K. plans in a moment, but let's go back to those three girls, who went to Syria from the

U.K., who you're only too familiar with.

What do you know about their situation as it stands now?

AKUNJEE: Well, unfortunately what we know really dates back to mid- December. On the last contact we had, the girls managed to make a very brief contact with the families. And they simply explained that they were

in health but that bombing was continuing, Russian bombing at the time, quite close to them.

Communications were likely to be disrupted and not to worry too much if contact was lost. That was all they were able to communicate at that time

and that was mid-December.

HOLMES: So great concerns about them.

The U.K. government, let's go back to that, unveiling this Educate against Hate program today. And unveiling it, by the way, at the very school those

three girls attended. It's an attempt to blunt the extremist message, head it off, better monitor kids. But you're skeptical.

AKUNJEE: Well, I am, frankly. The prevent strategy and the channel program are the two main heads of what's known as contest, the policy idea

behind tackling radical or violent extremism.

Now these policies have been evolving for some -- nearly a decade now. And, frankly, have just simply attracted criticism more so and ever more

piled on as the years roll by. They simply just do not seem to meet the challenge of what it is that we have been facing.

HOLMES: I guess, you know, people could look at that and say, well, it's easy to criticize; at least they're doing something, something is being

attempted to combat the ISIS message that there needs to be a counter narrative.


HOLMES: What should, in your view, that counter narrative be, if not these measures, if these measures aren't resonating?

AKUNJEE: Well, you see, there's a difference between measures and a narrative. There are measures put in place as a curtailment of what some

may say free speech by removing certain speakers or banning people from speaking about certain topics. That is a measure.

In terms of a narrative, actually, I'm not aware of an effective counter narrative that the British government has actually developed.

HOLMES: What would you suggest?


AKUNJEE: Well, actually with Bouzar, the lady in France, she speaks about meeting the challenge of it through empathy rather than through pure logic,

reason or argument, through religious edict. And she seems to be having some success with that.

And frankly, the issue to do with the returnees is one of actually counseling or uniquely targeted counseling. The issue to do with

dissuading people from going over there is an issue of information.

And the people with the best message, the most effective and trustworthy message, are the people who made the very bad mistake of going over there

but then seeing the error of their ways then returned. Now there is no more credible voice than that.

HOLMES: Certainly would make sense.

I want to ask you about David Cameron's idea, mandatory English lessons. But, curiously, with the risk of being tossed out of the country if they

fail. Offering to help learn English is one thing; threatening deportation if you fail is quite another.

How is that likely to go down in immigrant communities, especially given that many ISIS members speak beautiful English?

AKUNJEE: Well, what's interesting is that the majority of the propaganda coming out of ISIS territory is actually in English, not in Bengali,

Pakistani, Urdu and various other target ethnic community languages.

And on top of that, what's really quite amusing about the whole scenario -- if amusement can be found -- is that, given that yesterday Cameron said

that he pulled a figure out of the air, 20 percent of Muslim women don't speak English and, in his view, this contributes to the problem of


The government's own website for dealing with deradicalization is only found in English. So it seems that they seem to have missed their own

particular mark when it comes to the strategy that they're trying to effect. It just goes to show the sort of misthinking that's going on here.

HOLMES: I have to point out, you've been accused -- and you know this only too well, you've been accused of being sympathetic to people who have

joined terror groups, extremist groups. Some question your own ties to radicals within the community.

You've been quoted advising Muslims not to cooperate with antiterror police.

How do you defend those accusations?

AKUNJEE: Well, where it's -- where we have a situation, where we have a counterproductive strategy being levied against a particular community,

then it is my advice not to cooperate with something that's entirely counterproductive. At the end of the day that's a blanket statement.

But when it comes to a specific scenario that has to be tailored in terms of legal advice. I'm a lawyer that deals in criminal defense, specializing

somewhat in terrorism and terrorism-related matters.

If I am accused of having links through my work to people I defend, then I am fully guilty of that. That is the sum total of the accusations levied

against me.

HOLMES: Appreciate you joining us, Tasnime Akunjee, who is a British lawyer, thanks so much.

AKUNJEE: I'm grateful.

HOLMES: After a break, we do stay in the United Kingdom. Christiane interviews the first woman at the helm of one of the most prestigious

universities in the world, tackling diversity, free speech and education at Oxford.





HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone.

A row erupting at one of the world's top universities, one that is raising sharp questions about freedom of expression and safe places on campus.

A group of students at Oxford University in the U.K. are campaigning for the removal of this statue of Cecil Rhodes, a British colonialist, accused

by some of being the father of apartheid. Well, our next guest believes that statue should stay.

Louise Richardson is the new vice chancellor of Oxford University and the first woman appointed to that role in its 800-year history. She is also an

expert on terrorism and has some pretty strong views on the British government's anti-extremism program. She spoke to Christiane in our London



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Louise Richardson, welcome to the program.

RICHARDSON: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Pretty amazing: for the first time in 800 years, a woman is running one of the highest level universities in the world, Oxford


RICHARDSON: That's right.

AMANPOUR: What does it mean to you?

RICHARDSON: Oh, it means an enormous amount to me, both personally but also representing other women, especially young girls at school, students

at university, young post-docs, to see that really they shouldn't put a barrier to their ambition. It's very important.

AMANPOUR: So what is your plan for Oxford?

RICHARDSON: Well, Oxford is an extraordinary place and it remains a magnet for some of the brightest and most creative minds on the planet. And

that's why I wanted to work there. I wanted to work with these people.

And I want to ensure that the entire university is greater than the sum of its many fabulous parts. We attract these people and we need to ensure

that it's an environment in which they can produce their best work.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's talk about the environment because you've hit the board running, amidst a great controversy really over Cecil Rhodes and so-

called safe spaces.

RICHARDSON: Well, I don't think we should be banning speech on universities at all. And I'm always delighted, though, when I see students

agitating about something that isn't about their own benefit, some issue broader than themselves. And I think it's important that students raise

these issues.

Nevertheless, I don't think we can pretend that our history is any different than it is. I think we should use this opportunity to learn more

about the role of the university and, indeed, the country and running a colonial empire and use that to inform ourselves.

But we can't pretend it didn't happen.

AMANPOUR: What will you do regarding Oriel College and the statue?

Because that was President Clinton and just about every world leader for a long, long time --


RICHARDSON: Almost 8,000 people have been the beneficiary of Rhodes scholarships and they're extraordinary scholarships that transform the

lives of so many people from around the world. And I think that they're marvelous and we mustn't forget that.

Now I want to work with Oriel College and it's -- the statue is in Oriel. And they have decided to hold a listening exercise, which is am appropriate

response in a university, allow everyone to have their point of view.

My personal point of view is that the statue should stay and we should use it as a spur to action, as a spur to educating ourselves about Rhodes and,

indeed, about the contemporary opposition to Rhodes, too.

AMANPOUR: What about the idea of safe spaces?

Honestly, I'd never heard about this. I don't know. I went to university and I never found a safe space anywhere.

And you see what "The Times" newspaper has written in a leader.

"If students want safe spaces, they shouldn't even be at university; they should be at mollycoddle finishing schools."

What is your view on safe spaces?

RICHARDSON: I think running a university, we're obliged to ensure the physical safety of our students but I think --


AMANPOUR: But this is not about that. This is about their sensitivities and their sensibilities.

RICHARDSON: -- and I think, at university, students should be exposed to ideas they find objectionable. I am not interested in creating comfortable


University isn't about being comfortable. Education isn't about being comfortable. It's about encountering ideas you find objectionable,

engaging with them, persuading the other people to change their mind, being open to changing your own mind, not comfortable.

AMANPOUR: And let me ask you whether you -- what you say about this.

The Rhodes scholar who's campaigning for the statue's removal at Oxford has called the institution "institutionally racist."

And he basically said, "There's only one senior black professor at Oxford. There were only 24 black British students accepted into the university

undergraduate system this year."

In that regard, they have a point.

RICHARDSON: Well, I don't accept for a minute that the university is institutionally racist and I'm afraid --


AMANPOUR: -- really, they're wrong.

RICHARDSON: -- yes, they're wrong.


RICHARDSON: And 24 percent of Oxford students are BME; 13 -- yes, 24 percent --


From international --

RICHARDSON: Black and ethnic minorities -- if you -- if you -- but that includes graduate students and international students -- if you just look

at undergraduates, just look at home undergraduates, that figure is 13 percent. It could be higher but it's not that bad.

AMANPOUR: I want to move on to your other area of expertise and that is terrorism.

You wrote a book, "What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat."

There was a clip in which you said that, when you were 14 in Ireland, "I'd have joined the IRA in a heartbeat."

What is happening in our Western societies as they attempt now to deradicalize, to just try to confront this threat that we're seeing on an

unprecedented level now?

RICHARDSON: Well, I was speaking about the week after the Bloody Sunday massacres in 1972, when, if you may remember, all of Ireland was up in

arms; the British embassy was burnt in Dublin.

It was a very friable atmosphere. I was a young child and I was incensed. And, yes, I'd have marched off to join the IRA.

By the time I was -- grew sense, I had sense and went to university, I, of course, completely rejected the violence of the IRA and, indeed, reject the

goals of the IRA.

I think we have to be very careful and investigate why it is, understand much better why it is young people are being radicalized. One of the ways

to ensure they're not is to ensure that the views that they hear, that they find attractive, are countered. It gets back to protecting free speech in


AMANPOUR: Do you think, Prevent, the way the British government is dealing with this, their deradicalize program, is that -- is that working?

Is the announcement by the prime minister to offer English lessons to thousands of Muslim women here as a way to get them out of homebound

isolation and into the community more?

Is that a good thing?

RICHARDSON: Well, I would applaud Prime Minister Cameron's action there. But on the broader issue, I think we have to be -- it's all about ensuring

that people, again, are exposed to these different views.

I worry in the case of Prevent and how it relates to universities. I worry that students, Muslim students, will feel that they're suspect; even if

it's not deliberately designed against Muslim students, Muslim students will feel they're suspect.

I also am concerned that it may have a chilling effect on university debate by not allowing people who have views that we object to come to

universities and give those views.

I want to hear those views at the university and I want people to stand up and counter them. And that will prevent the people listening from being

radicalized. It's when the views are uncontested that they run the risk of radicalizing people.

So I do have concerns about Prevent.

AMANPOUR: Louise Richardson, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

RICHARDSON: Very welcome.


HOLMES: Diversity, not just an issue in the world's highest educational institutions but it's artistic ones as well, it would seem. The Academy

Awards not including any people of color in their acting nominations for the second year in a row.

It is causing big names like Oscar-winning director Spike Lee to boycott the event. Late last year, Christiane sat down with Lee, who told her race

relations were a work in progress.


SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: This country is in transition, in progress, one move forward, two steps back. It's a living organism and that's where

we're living. So we just got to keep at it.


HOLMES: Racial tensions heating up on the red carpet in the U.S. But after a break, we imagine a festival of freezing new beginnings. Eastern

Europe taking the plunge. That's next.





HOLMES: And finally tonight, imagine a world where a leap of faith plunges you into icy depths.

Today followers of the Orthodox Church across Eastern Europe are celebrating the religious festival of epiphany by jumping into the biting

waters of frozen lakes and rivers to mark the baptism of Jesus.

The faithful duck beneath the water three times in honor of the Holy Trinity. And the further east the worshipper, the more refreshing the


These swimmers in Siberia, for example, braving the piercing waters at temperatures around -22 degrees Fahrenheit. That's -30 degrees Celsius.

Luckily, those less inclined to sink or swim have a warmer alternative. They can choose to collect blessed water by the bottle, not the body.

And that is it for our program tonight. And remember you can now also listen to our podcast, see us online at, follow me on Twitter

@HolmesCNN. Thanks for watching the program. Goodbye now from Atlanta.