British schoolgirl who joined Islamic State says UK is ‘making an example of me’

British schoolgirl who joined Islamic State says UK is ‘making an example of me’

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February 25, 2019 09:04:32

British schoolgirl Shamima Begum, who ran away from her London home as a schoolgirl in 2015 to join terrorist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria, has accused the United Kingdom of “making an example of me”.

Key points:

  • Ms Begum said she might have retained her citizenship had she not attracted so much attention
  • She said she regretted giving media interviews in which she asked for sympathy “for everything I’ve been through”
  • Her father, Ahmed Ali, said he backed the UK’s decision to revoke her citizenship status

Ms Begum had her British citizenship revoked following a series of high-profile interviews in which she detailed her hopes to return home to raise her child. She said she had already lost two children to malnutrition while living with the terrorist group.

She denied making propaganda for IS, telling local media “people should have sympathy towards me for everything I’ve been through”, but conceding, “When I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all”.

It prompted a fierce backlash from the public and politicians alike, and Ms Begum now believes speaking to the media may have inadvertently harmed her chances of ever returning home.

“They [United Kingdom] are making an example of me,” she told British newspaper The Telegraph.

“I regret speaking to the media. I wish I had stayed low and found a different way to contact my family.

“That’s why I spoke.”

‘She does not accept her wrong’, father says

Ms Begum was 15 when she ran away from her home in London’s Bethnal Green, part of a group of schoolgirls from the neighbourhood who went to Syria to marry IS fighters.

She was found heavily pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp earlier this month and gave birth to a child days later.

Ms Begum’s family in the United Kingdom have previously said they intend to explore “all legal avenues” to challenge the decision to revoke her British citizenship.

However, her father, Ahmed Ali, who lives in Bangladesh, told the Mail he did not have a problem with the British Government’s decision.

“I know she is stuck there [in Syria], but that’s because she has done actions that made her get stuck like this,” he told the newspaper.

“If she at least admitted she made a mistake then I would feel sorry for her and other people would feel sorry for her.

“But she does not accept her wrong.”

The Bangladeshi Government has since moved to clarify reports Ms Begum — who appears unlikely to be allowed entry back in the United Kingdom — is a Bangladeshi citizen, saying it was “deeply concerned that she has been erroneously identified as a holder of dual citizenship”.










First posted

February 25, 2019 08:39:56

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