IS bride Shamima Begum: I was ‘brainwashed’ and want a second chance

Islamic State bride Shamima Begum has revealed she is coming to terms with the prospect she may never return to Britain, but insisted she was "brainwashed" by the extremists she ran away to join as a schoolgirl.

Speaking for the first time since the death of her third baby in March, the 19-year-old said she "really regretted everything" and wants a second chance.

She told The Times that she had left London for Syria as a 15-year-old "believing everything that I had been told, while knowing little about the truths of my religion".

Ms Begum married Dutch fighter Yago Riedijk and the pair fled the caliphate as its last bastion in Baghuz crumbled earlier this year.

The teenager, who has Bangladeshi heritage, has since been stripped of her British citizenship.

"I have sat down and thought about how long I would have to stay here. And I have kind of accepted that I will have to stay here, I will have to make this like a second home," she said.

Then in the late stages of pregnancy, Ms Begum appeared to have little remorse when she was found in the al-Hawl refugee camp in February.

Her apparent defiance prompted public anger back in the UK, but some argued that she was a victim of grooming and should be allowed to come back to Britain.

"Since I left Baghuz I really regretted everything I did, and I feel like I want to go back to the UK for a second chance to start my life over again," she said.

"I was brainwashed."

9 PHOTOS
Shamima Begum
See Gallery
Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum reacting to question in news interview
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of east London schoolgirl Shamima Begum, going through security at Gatwick airport, before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015 to join the Islamic State group, she is now heavily pregnant and wants to come home.
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of (left to right) 15-year-old Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum before catching a flight to Turkey in 2015 to join the Islamic State group, Shamima Begum is now heavily pregnant and wants to come home.
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of east London schoolgirl Shamima Begum, who left Britain as a 15-year-old to join the Islamic State group and is now heavily pregnant and wants to come home.
Sahima Begum (sister of Shamima Begum) and Abase Hussen (father of Amira Abase ) leave the Houses of Parliament in London, after giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee after three schoolgirls are feared to have joined Islamic State in war-torn Syria.
Handout comp of stills taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of (left to right) Kadiza Sultana,16, Shamima Begum,15 and 15-year-old Amira Abase going through security at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey on Tuesday. The three schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State.
The famiiles of Amira Abase and Shamima Begum after being interviewed by the media at New Scotland Yard, central London, as the relatives of three missing schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State have pleaded for them to return home.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10 : In this photo taken from video, Shamima Begum's sister Sahima Begum attends an evidence session at Parliaments Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, on three girls who are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in London, England on March 10, 2015. (Photo by House of Commons/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 10 : In this photo taken from video, (L-R) Kadiza Sultana's Cousin Fahmida Aziz, Shamima Begum's sister Sahima Begum, Amira Abase's father Hussen Abase and Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee representing the families of the three schoolgirls missing in Syria attend an evidence session at Parliaments Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons, on three girls who are believed to have travelled to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in London, England on March 10, 2015. (Photo by House of Commons/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The teenager attributed her early display of remorselessness to the threats she faced from extremists in al-Hawl.

"Anything I said against Dawlah (IS), they would immediately attack me, so I was afraid of that," she said.

Ms Begum was speaking to the Times from the al-Hol camp, where she and her baby were moved to out of concern for their safety after she went public.

Her son, Jarrah, died on March 8 aged three weeks and was buried in an unmarked grave on the outskirts of the facility.

It was reported last month that Ms Begum's family had begun legal proceedings to review the Home Secretary's decision to strip her of British citizenship.

Sajid Javid's move was only permissible under international law if it does not leave her stateless.

Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls to leave Bethnal Green to join IS in 2015.

On Monday it was reported that an IS fighter being held in Syria had claimed to be one of at least seven students and ex-students from the University of Westminster to join the caliphate.

Zakariyya Elogbani, who grew up in east London, told the BBC he abandoned a degree in business management in 2014 before joining the extremists.

Mohammed Emwazi, the IS executioner known as Jihadi John, also studied at the university until 2009.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS