I was on the wrong path, woman who joined IS tells documentary

·2-min read
Tareena Shakil was the first woman in the UK to be prosecuted for joining so-called Islamic State (PA)
Tareena Shakil was the first woman in the UK to be prosecuted for joining so-called Islamic State (PA)

The first woman found guilty in the UK of joining so-called Islamic State has said she should have gone on holiday to Turkey instead.

Tareena Shakil made the admission in a new documentary for ITV called Tareena: Return From Isis.

Shakil joined IS after travelling to Syria in 2014 with her son.

She returned to the UK in 2015 and faced prosecution.

EMBARGOED PICTURE: FOR PUBLICATION FROM TUESDAY NOVEMBER 9TH 2021An Uplands TV/ ACL ProductionTAREENA: RETURN FROM ISISEXPOSURESunday 14th November 2021 on ITV Archive picture shows: Tareena Shakil holding a AK47 Kalashnikov rifle In Syria in 2014The first British ISIS returnee to tell her story, Tareena Shakil hit the headlines when she took her toddler son to Syria. Filmed over 3 years this is her extraordinary account of her journey to ISIS held territory, why she went and how she escaped. Now having served her time in prison should she be rehabilitated and live a normal life? The film raises wider questions about those like her who travelled to Syria but have been refused the right to a fair trial or even to return at all. (C) Uplands TV For further information please contact Peter Graypeter.gray@itv.comThis photograph is (C) Uplands TV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme TAREENA: RETURN FROM ISIS or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com
EMBARGOED PICTURE: FOR PUBLICATION FROM TUESDAY NOVEMBER 9TH 2021An Uplands TV/ ACL ProductionTAREENA: RETURN FROM ISISEXPOSURESunday 14th November 2021 on ITV Archive picture shows: Tareena Shakil holding a AK47 Kalashnikov rifle In Syria in 2014The first British ISIS returnee to tell her story, Tareena Shakil hit the headlines when she took her toddler son to Syria. Filmed over 3 years this is her extraordinary account of her journey to ISIS held territory, why she went and how she escaped. Now having served her time in prison should she be rehabilitated and live a normal life? The film raises wider questions about those like her who travelled to Syria but have been refused the right to a fair trial or even to return at all. (C) Uplands TV For further information please contact Peter Graypeter.gray@itv.comThis photograph is (C) Uplands TV and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme TAREENA: RETURN FROM ISIS or ITV. Once made available by the ITV Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the Transmission date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com

She was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016.

She told the programme that if she could go back in time she would go to Turkey instead of IS’s stronghold in Raqqa Syria.

“If I could go back I would have come back,” she said.

“I would have gone to Turkey on holiday and I would have come back.

“That’s what should have happened, gone on holiday for a week and come back.”

The documentary, filmed over three years, says Shakil was groomed at the hands of a recruiter.

At one point during the documentary, Shakil was confronted with a photo of herself holding an AK47.

“That’s someone who’s just lost her way in life, found a very wrong path,” she said.

She said she was aware of the violence being committed by IS because “it was everywhere”.

Tareena Shakil was jailed in 2016 for six years (West Midlands Police/PA) (PA Media)
Tareena Shakil was jailed in 2016 for six years (West Midlands Police/PA) (PA Media)

She said: I was aware of the violence that had taken place at the hands of Isis, you know I can’t lie and say that I didn’t because it was everywhere.

“You know, being aware of horrific things that were happening in that place and still deciding to run away, not just on your own, with your child, I understand that that is hard for people to understand.”

She added that she did not pay much attention to the violence at the time.

“And to just say that you didn’t pay that much attention to it, but that’s what it was, I just, I didn’t,” she said.

“It’s not something that I’m happy about now looking back, but at the time the only thing I can say is that, you know, I was far from the best version of myself.”

Tareena: Return From Isis is available now on ITV Hub.

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