Shamima Begum, a British teen who fled to Syria and joined ISIS, has given birth in a refugee camp and is begging to be allowed to return to the UK. Picture: Sky News
Shamima Begum, a British teen who fled to Syria and joined ISIS, has given birth in a refugee camp and is begging to be allowed to return to the UK. Picture: Sky News

British ISIS teen gives birth

TEEN jihadi Shamima Begum says she deserves "sympathy" after giving birth in a Syria refugee camp - but says she doesn't regret joining the terror group.

The Brit, 19, today begged to return home to the UK and insisted "I was just a housewife," The Sun reports.

Begum, who fled the UK in 2015, claims she "never did anything dangerous" and says she "can't live in this camp forever."

Speaking to Sky News next to her newborn son she said people "should have sympathy towards me for everything I have been through".

Shamima Begum (right) looks on as another woman holds her newborn son in an interview with Sky News. Picture: Sky News
Shamima Begum (right) looks on as another woman holds her newborn son in an interview with Sky News. Picture: Sky News

She added: "I didn't know what I was getting into when I left.

"I was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they'd let me come back.

"Because I can't live in this camp forever, it's just not possible.

"When I went to Syria I was just a housewife for the entire four years. I never did anything dangerous. I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria."

She claimed she'd had a "good time" in the war-zone and apologised to her parents for leaving the UK saying it was "a big slap in the face to them."

Shamima Begum is begging to be allowed to return to the UK. Picture: Sky News
Shamima Begum is begging to be allowed to return to the UK. Picture: Sky News

 

Asked if she felt she made a mistake travelling to Syria, she said: "In a way, yes, but I don't regret it because it's changed me as a person. It's made me stronger, tougher, you know.

"I married my husband, I wouldn't have found someone like him back in the UK.

"I had my kids, I did have a good time there. It's just that then things got harder and I couldn't take it any more and I had to leave."

The runaway Londoner's family lawyer said she'd given birth earlier today.

Family lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said: "We the family of Shamima Begum have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child, we understand that both she and the baby are in good health.

"As yet we have not had direct contact with Shamima, we are hoping to establish communications with her soon so that we can verify the above."

The lawyer later confirmed: "It's a boy."

 

DESPERATE TO COME HOME

The Brit fled to Syria when she was 15, with two friends from Bethnal Green high school, East London, and married a Dutch ISIS fighter.

She was found by a Times journalist last week in a refugee camp.

The 19-year-old, who has called herself "weak" for wanting to return to her home country, had previously given birth to two children who died from malnutrition.

She told The Times she didn't regret joining the murderous cult but is now desperate to return home and have her baby with the support of the NHS.

She said: "I'm scared this baby is going to get sick in this camp. That's why I really want to get back to Britain. Because I know it will be taken care of, health wise at least."

Her family, who believe she was groomed, pleaded for her to be allowed back to the UK "as a matter of urgency".

Her eldest sister Renu told ITV News she was desperate for her sibling to come home.

She said: "We hope the British Government will help us bring her home to us where she belongs."

It is understood that should Begum make her way back to Britain, she will face legal proceedings by social services to safeguard her child.

She said she expected to be charged with terrorism offences and to be the subject of intense media attention, but was desperate not to be separated from her baby.

 

When she was 15 Begum ran away from Britain to join Islamic State extremists in Syria. Now she wants to come back to London, but her path home is not clear. Picture: AP
When she was 15 Begum ran away from Britain to join Islamic State extremists in Syria. Now she wants to come back to London, but her path home is not clear. Picture: AP

Begum asked: "What do you think will happen to my child? Because I don't want it to be taken away from me, or at least if it is, to be given to my family."

Her family said that if she is jailed for supporting a terror group they want to raise the baby boy.

Muhammad Rahman, 36, whose brother is married to Shamima's elder sister Renu, told Britain's The Sunday Telegraph: "Her parents would want custody of the baby. They would want to look after their grandchild.

"I don't think people, feeling the way many do about what Shamima has done, would want the state to pick up the burden of looking after the child.

"Hopefully Shamima can be reunited with her baby after she has been freed from any spell in custody."

FLED TO ISIS IN 2015

Begum left London in February 2015 with two school friends to follow another classmate to Syria.

She said one friend, Kadiza Sultana, had died in an air strike but the other Bethnal Green girls, Amira Abase and Sharmeena Begum, had stayed with ISIS in Baghuz.

She said she feared she will never see her husband, the Dutch jihadist Yago Riedijk again, whom she still loved "very much".

Riedijk, 26, a convert to Islam who grew up in a middle-class family home in Arnhem, is suspected by police of being involved in a terrorist plot in the Netherlands. He was convicted in his absence last year of membership of a terrorist group.

Questions have been raised over whether Britain would be able to prevent Begum's eventual return to the UK.

Shamima's parents are consulting their lawyer about legal action against the government to force it to allow the teenager back into the country.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join ISIS, but Justice Secretary David Gauke told Sky News "we can't make people stateless".

Mr Javid wrote in The Sunday Times that many supporters of ISIS have returned to their home countries, adding: "The difficult challenge we now face is what we should do about those who are still seeking to return.

"As home secretary, my priority is to ensure the safety and security of this country - and I will not let anything jeopardise that."

However the government's tough stance was undermined when Alex Younger, the head of MI6, said British citizens "have a right to come to the UK".

Diane Abbott, the UK's shadow home secretary, said anyone linked to terrorist groups "should be fully investigated and where appropriate prosecuted" but added: "We are not in favour of making people stateless."

Chief executive of counter-extremism organisation Quilliam, Haras Rafiq, said he "absolutely" understood the public would be concerned about the prospect of Begum's return, but the "intellectual and right thing to do" was for her to go before the courts.

Kurdish officials have also demanded the UK fulfils its "moral and legal duty" to repatriate Begum and other British ISIS members detained in Syria.

 

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.



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