Shamima Begum says she was a ‘dumb kid’ when she left to join Isis and asks to return to UK

·2-min read
Shamima Begum was stripped of her citizenship after joining Isis (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Shamima Begum was stripped of her citizenship after joining Isis (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Isis bride Shamima Begum has said she was just a “dumb kid” when she travelled to Syria to join the group and now wants to help rehabilitate other former terrorist recruits.

In an interview for a new documentary from the al-Roj prison camp in Syria where she is still being held, Begum said: “I don't think I was a terrorist. I think I was just a dumb kid who made one mistake.

“I personally don't think that I need to be rehabilitated, but I would want to help other people be rehabilitated. I would love to help.”

The 21-year-old – dressed in jeans and a cap – was speaking to filmmaker Andrew Drury for his TV show, Danger Zone.

“I wear these clothes, and I don't wear a hijab, because it makes me happy,” she said. “And anything in this camp that makes me happy is like a lifesaver.”

Women and children walk at Camp Roj, where relatives of people suspected of belonging to Isis are held (AFP via Getty Images)
Women and children walk at Camp Roj, where relatives of people suspected of belonging to Isis are held (AFP via Getty Images)

Asked what she would say to those in the UK, Begum replied: “Can I come home please, pretty please?”

The former child bride from Bethnal Green, east London, left the UK with two classmates, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, in February 2015.

15-year-old Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum, 15, at Gatwick airport in February 2015 (PA)
15-year-old Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Shamima Begum, 15, at Gatwick airport in February 2015 (PA)

Then aged 15, Begum and her friends took a Turkish Airlines flight from Gatwick to Istanbul before crossing into Syria.

She lived under Isis rule for more than three years, married a Dutch Isis fighter who is believed to be held at another prison in Syria, and had three babies, all of whom have died.

Begum is currently unable to travel to the UK after her British citizenship was revoked and a court blocked her return citing security concerns.

Mr Drury, who films documentaries from warzones and other hostile environments for Netflix, said after meeting Begum he believed she should be allowed to return to the UK to stand trial.

He said: “We were about to say goodbye and I didn't know the protocol because bear in mind she is there as a terrorist.

“I went to shake her hand and she started to cry and said to me, 'Can I have a hug?'”

“This girl is a vulnerable 21-year-old who did something unbelievably stupid. It was a childish mistake from a 15-year-old.”

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