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Shamima Begum’s IS ‘recruiter’ mocks her for being a non-believer

Sharmeena Begum
Sharmeena Begum

The Bethnal Green schoolgirl who recruited Shamima Begum into IS has mocked her for being a failure and a non-believer.

Sharmeema Begum left London for Syria to join IS in 2014, followed a few months later by Shamima and two other girls.

Sharmeena tried to persuade her and her friends to go with her and once she was in Syria, she began to message them.

Shamima told The Times: “We were like, ‘Oh my God, she just did it,’ like it’s possible. It made it more real. Then we just immediately started planning.”

Shamima is now 23 and being held by Kurdish authorities in Syria having been stripped of her British citizenship.

Until now, Sharmeena’s whereabouts since she left for the country have been unknown. She has not appeared on official camp records held by the camp’s guards and seen by The Telegraph.

According to the BBC, Sharmeena escaped a Syrian detention camp, is now living in hiding and using a different identity while fundraising for the terror group.

Shamima Begum - The Shamima Begum Story/BBC
Shamima Begum - The Shamima Begum Story/BBC

Speaking to a BBC journalist posing as an IS sympathiser for the Shamima Begum Story podcast, she said unlike her former friend, she does not want to return home to the UK and face prison.

She said Shamima was “just another individual, living off the benefits” who did not contribute at all and only came to Syria because “she just followed her friends into what became the biggest misery of her life”.

In her exchanges with the BBC, she mocked Shamima as a failure and a non-believer, saying she had ruined the image of the women who had joined IS.

Confronted by Shamima’s claim that it was Sharmeena who persuaded her to join Isis, she replied: “I didn’t force them or send propaganda. I simply told them what I wanted to do.

“I’m not responsible for anyone. I was just as shocked as the rest of the world when they came.”

Sharmeena’s social media page was discovered this week by the broadcaster, which claimed she has raised thousands of pounds for the caliphate.

She has allegedly been posting stories on social media and messaging platforms about the dire conditions in the camps for foreign women to illicit donations.

Amounts totalling $3,000 (£2,400) have so far been paid in cryptocurrency and bitcoin.

When asked by the BBC reporter why she was raising money for a terror group, she said she was “simply feeding and clothing women and children who are poor”.

Born to Bangladeshi parents in Tower Hamlets in 1999, Sharmeena was largely brought up by her mother Shahnaz until 2007 when her father Mohammed Nizam Uddin moved to Britain.

Friends say they saw a sudden change when her mother died of cancer in 2013 aged 33.

Sharmeena left the UK on a flight to Turkey a year later, in December 2014. Schoolfriends Amira Abase, Shamima, and Kadiza Sultana joined her, making them the youngest Britons to join Isis.

begum - Metropolitan Police via AP
begum - Metropolitan Police via AP

It is now known Sharmeena survived years of US-led coalition bombing and ground offensives on the caliphate before being captured by the western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Sharmeena is reported to have escaped from al-Hol, a sprawling camp in northeastern Syria controlled by the SDF but funded by the US-led coalition which includes the UK.

The commander of the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which guards detainees at Camp Hol, said IS is regrouping and is smuggling money into the camps, which can be used to buy weapons, and plan escapes and attacks.

The lawless encampment has seen a rise in violence in recent years. The SDF says 50 detainees have been murdered there in a six-month period.