A London schoolgirl who left the UK as a 15-year-old to join the so-called Islamic State wants to return home.
Shamima Begum was tracked down by The Times to whom she revealed she was heavily pregnant and the bride of an ISIS fighter.
Speaking from a refugee camp in northern Syria, Begum revealed that she had already lost two children and that her husband was being held captive.
Now 19-years-old, Begum told the paper “I don’t regret coming here”
She added: “I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago.”
‘The caliphate is over’
Begum told the Times: “The caliphate is over.
“There was so much oppression and corruption that I don’t think they deserved victory. I know what everyone at home thinks of me as I have read all that was written about me online. But I just want to come home to have my child. That’s all I want right now. I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.”
Begum and two fellow schoolgirls Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase made headlines in 2015 when they fled to Turkey, before entering Syria. Each of the girls married an ISIS foreign fighter, claim The Times.
On arrival Begum was placed in a safe-house where jihadist brides-to-be wait to be married, she claimed. Then just 15-years-old the schoolgirl married a Dutchman who had converted to Islam.
She mothered two children with the unidentified terrorist before he was arrested and tortured. Both children died in recent months, according to The Times.
Begum described life in Raqqa as “mostly” “normal”.
She revealed to the paper: “But when I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all. It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam. I thought only of what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance.”
UK officials won’t be risked
Security Minister Ben Wallace said of the case: “The UK advises against all travel to Syria and parts of Iraq. Anyone who does travel to these areas, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in considerable danger.
“Everyone who returns from taking part in the conflict in Syria or Iraq must expect to be investigated by the police to determine if they have committed criminal offences, and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to our national security.
“There are a range of terrorism offences where individuals can be convicted for crimes committed overseas and we can also use Temporary Exclusion Orders to control an individuals’ return to the UK.”
Speaking this morning to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Wallace insisted that British officials’ lives wouldn’t be risked to rescue the likes of Begum.
He said: “I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go and look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state – there’s consular services elsewhere in the region and the strong message this Government has given for many years is that actions have consequences.”
Times war correspondent Anthony Loyd who found Begum, said of the 19-year-old:
“She is the 15-year-old schoolgirl who was groomed and lured to the caliphate, and four years later, with that background, she is an indoctrinated jihadi bride.”
“She didn’t express regret, she said she had no regrets, she was calm and composed but she was also in a state of shock – she had just come out of a battlefield, nine months pregnant, many of her friends dead and she’s gone through air strikes and all the rest of it – so I wouldn’t want to rush to judge her too harshly.”