ISIS bride Shamima Begum has made a new appeal to be allowed to return to Britain, claiming she could be a ‘voice against radicalisation’.
The 22-year-old was stripped of her British citizenship in 2019 after she travelled to Syria at the age of 15. Now, she says she wants to be ‘used as an example’ to warn other Brits of the dangers of turning to extremism.
Begum, who left the UK in 2015 alongside friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, is now living in the Al-Roj prison camp in Syria, where she was captured.
Speaking to iNews from the camp while she awaits a trial by the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, she insisted that she wants to be ‘as British as possible’, but conceded that she expects she will spend the rest of her life in Syria.
Begum’s parents were born in Bangladesh. She left school in Bethnal Green, East London to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.
There, she married an ISIS fighter and gave birth to three children, all of whom died young. Her youngest child died in the prison camp in Syria’s north-east in 2019.
She has made previous attempts to restore her British citizenship, but failed in her Supreme Court bid to return to the UK and fight her case in person.
The Supreme Court ruled on national security grounds that she cannot return to Britain to pursue an appeal against the decision. The law states a person’s citizenship can be stripped if they are deemed to be in the public interest.
Begum’s latest interview was shared with iNews by Andrew Drury and Richard Ashmore. Earlier this month, Drury spoke of how he has formed close bonds with jihadi brides during his time working at the camp.
‘That’s how I feel and that’s what it looks like,’ Begum said on the likelihood of her spending the rest of her life in Syria.
She told Drury and Ashmore that she was aware of how the public perceive her back in the UK, with Drury saying she enjoys her ‘celebrity’ status, iNews said.
Begun said: ‘The problem is at the age of being a teenager you’re very arrogant and you don’t listen to people so sometimes you really do have to learn the hard way.
‘I could be used as an example, like you don’t want to end up like her. If it stops children making the same mistake that I made of course use me as an example.
‘Tell the kids “don’t be like her, don’t become like her”.’
She told the interviewers that she was trafficked by ISIS fighters to be a bride, along-side several other British girls who went to Syria. She said that it ‘happened so fast’ – in less than a year, and that she was radicalised online.
When asked how she and two other teenage girls were able to make the journey to Turkey, which cost them £1,000, she said they just told the travel agent they were going on holiday. ‘I’m shocked by how easy it was [to go]. I’m still to this day shocked by how easy it was,’ she said.
Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana are now believed to be dead.