Udayavni Special

ISIS bride Shamima Begum pleads for ‘second chance’ from UK


Team Udayavani, Mar 18, 2021, 6:40 PM IST

London: Shamima Begum, the London-born Bangladeshi-origin woman who fled the UK to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist network in Syria as a teenager, has pleaded for a “second chance” from Britain, according to a newly released documentary on so-called jihadist brides.

In ‘The Return: Life After ISIS’ documentary, which premiered this week at the South by Southwest festival in Texas, Begum says she was “naive” when she left London as a 15-year-old schoolgirl and does not share ISIS beliefs.

According to ‘The Times’, she accuses the UK government in the film of inventing stories that she worked for the ISIS “morality police” as an excuse for revoking her British citizenship.

“I would say to the people in the UK to give me a second chance because I was still young when I left,” Begum says in the film.

“I would ask that they put aside everything they’ve heard about me and just have an open mind about why I left and who I am now as a person,” she says.

Begum, dressed in a hijab unlike more recent photographs of her without a headscarf, tells the filmmakers that people mistakenly feel that she was responsible for the crimes of ISIS.

“They just think I knew about these crimes and I supported these crimes but that’s not true. I would never support something like this, like the things they did,” she says.

Begum gave birth to three children in Syria and says that she wanted to kill herself when all three children died soon after birth in Syria.

In a lighter moment the 21-year-old who grew up in Bethnal Green, east London, says she “pines for a foot-long meatball Subway” should she be allowed to return to Britain.

Last month, the Supreme Court refused Begum permission to return to the UK to fight the UK Home Secretary’s decision to strip her of her British citizenship.

The unanimous decision – with all five top court justices in agreement – came six years after Begum ran away with two other schoolgirls in February 2015.

The court concluded that the appropriate answer is not to force the government to bring Begum back to the UK – but to pause her legal fight over citizenship until she is in a safer position to take part in her appeal.

“The Supreme Court unanimously allows all of the Home Secretary”s appeals and dismisses Ms Begum”s cross-appeal,” said Lord Robert Reed, the President of the Supreme Court.

“The right to a fair hearing does not trump all other considerations, such as the safety of the public,” he said. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said the ruling reaffirmed the government”s national security stance, which maintains that Begum has not been made stateless as she is a Bangladeshi citizen by descent.

“The government will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security and our priority remains maintaining the safety and security of our citizens,” she said.

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