British ISIS bride says she’s ‘not dangerous’ and ‘people should have sympathy’
The British ISIS bride Shamima Begum says she is ‘not dangerous’ and fears her newborn son will die in the Syrian camp where she is being held.
The 19-year-old – who wants to return to the UK – said people should "have sympathy for what I’ve been through", in an interview with Sky News.
Ms Begum recently gave birth to a baby boy, her third child since she fled Bethnal Green in London for Syria in 2015 at the age of 15.
Her other two children died in infancy.
The teenager, found in a refugee camp in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria earlier this week, now wants to return to the UK, a request which has sparked fierce national debate among politicians and the British public.
Speaking to Sky News reporter John Sparks she said: "I think a lot of people should have sympathy towards me.
Did she regret joining ISIS?
She replied: "It’s made me tougher, stronger. 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, just at the end things got harder and I couldn’t take it any more."
"My husband doesn’t know about the baby. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know if they would let me contact him. I don’t know how to.
"I don’t have my phone, I don’t have the internet. The last journalist who came contacted my family for me."
But she did say: "I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left."
Shamima claims she never made propaganda or "did anything dangerous, never encouraged people to come to Syria" while living under ISIS and that she was just "a housewife" during her four years in the terrorists’ caliphate.
The 19-year-old said she was seduced by videos of Islamic State online.
When asked about evidence of ISIS beheadings that circulated before she fled the UK she replied: "Yeah I was okay with it, because I heard Islamically it was okay, so I was fine with it."
Why does she want to return to the UK?
She said: "I cannot live in this camp forever.
"They do not have any evidence against me that I am dangerous."
She urged her family to "keep trying to get me back (to the UK)", adding "My biggest priority is my child.
"I (hope) that maybe for the sake of me and my child they’d let me come back."
When she was asked if she feared having her son taken away from her should she be allowed to return to the UK the mum replied: "I do not see any reason why they would take him away from me."
She added: "I left [Isis] because of him (her baby), I just want to give him a better life. I don’t want him to be taken away from me."
What did she do while under ISIS in Syria?
"When I went to Syria I was just a housewife for the entire four years. Stayed at home took care of my kids.
"I never did anything dangerous. I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria."
Her husband Yago Riedijk is a Dutch-born ISIS fighter, who is currently being kept in a separate camp from the teenager.
Can you be rehabilitated?
"I’m still kind of in the mentality over having planes overhead, an emergency backpack.
"It would be a really big shock to go back to the UK."
Shamima was one of three schoolgirls, along with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy who left the UK to travel to Syria in February 2015.
Should she return she faces probable prosecution for terrorist offences.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join IS, 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 IS 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."
ISIS Bride Shamima Begum
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