Target practice just got messy.
A shooting range in the English county of Merseyside has come under fire (pun very much intended) after it emerged that staff had been using images of Shamima Begum, a Muslim teenager who left the United Kingdom to join the Islamic State, as a target.
Speaking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire program, Wallasey's Ultimate Airsoft Range said that the range was intended "for people to learn the importance and safety of handling weapons, while having fun".
"Our targets provide some fantastic reactions and conversations... bringing out the inner child in all," a spokesperson said.
The image below shows a target of Begum that's been riddled with bullet holes.
Exclusive: a shooting range in Wallasey defends using images of Shamima Begum as target practice because of a ‘reco… https://t.co/vLOertioO6— Victoria Derbyshire (@Victoria Derbyshire)1551261366.0
The shooting range had earlier posted an image of the target to Twitter, describing it as "hot off the press." The tweet also included the hashtags #NoRemorse and #MadeYourChoice.
Now it's facing some rather heated criticism.
A UK airsoft shooting range is using an image of IS bride Shamima Begum as a target The company markets itself as… https://t.co/V4RSSF4GtV— Victoria Derbyshire (@Victoria Derbyshire)1551265114.0
Its website also shows other targets, including U.S. President Donald Trump and former English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The shooting range's website also shows they offer other "celebrity targets" at their unit on Marine Road in… https://t.co/o8XlV46fVx— BBC Merseyside (@BBC Merseyside)1551267622.0
The story evidently sparked an outrage on social media with critics saying that the image "encourages violent attitudes towards those who you harbour prejudices against."
Using it is bad enough but calling it 'lighthearted fun' !?!?! Have you seen this @bleksverdvar @ScouseGirlMedia… https://t.co/6TLTyIjG0r— Alison Bancroft #GTTOFFS (@Alison Bancroft #GTTOFFS)1551267279.0
@BBCNWT What sort of sick nation are we becoming?— Jon Deysman #FBPE #citizenofeurope (@Jon Deysman #FBPE #citizenofeurope)1551288797.0
@BBCNWT It encourages violent attitudes towards those who you harbour prejudices against. Sarah Palin did it in cam… https://t.co/PG6EnQGkPZ— Ray Kelly (@Ray Kelly)1551273166.0
@BBCNWT Look I don't want that girl in the UK because of what she's done but I'm appalled by this behaviour! We're… https://t.co/MwSluQli45— なみ ㅤ (@なみ ㅤ)1551341598.0
Labor MP Angela Eagle agreed that the shooting range should "stop" using the targets.
Yes - it is clearly wrong to use photos of people as targets in a shooting game They should stop https://t.co/Xpq6HjR3pO— Angela Eagle (@Angela Eagle)1551270837.0
Shamima Begum left the U.K. four years ago at the age of 15 to join the Islamic State. A Times journalist tracked Begum, now 19, earlier this month, and found her living in a Syrian refugee camp, soon to give birth. On February 16, she gave birth to a boy.
Begum has said she would like to return home to her parents and has asked for forgiveness, but her impending return has sparked a debate in Britain about the handling of returning jihadists.
In response to her statements, Security Minister Ben Wallace said:
"I'm not putting at risk British people's lives to go and look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state."
The U.K. has stripped Begum of her citizenship. Her family announced they intend to challenge Home Secretary Sajid Javid's decision. British law does not allow an individual to remain stateless and Begum has the right to an appeal.
She says she is considering applying for Dutch citizenship.
Shamima Begum: IS teenager to lose UK citizenship - BBC News www.youtube.com