Radicalised teen to lose British citizenship

3 mins read
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Shamima Begum speaks to Sky News. Credit: Birmingham Mail

UPDATE: Home Secretary Sajid Javid has taken the decision to remove Shamima Begum’s British citizenship. 

The family’s lawyer, Mohammed T Akunjee, released this statement on Twitter: 

EARLIER: Shamima Begum has received a wave of abuse from people across the country, who believe after joining ISIS should be shown no mercy and be stripped of her British citizenship.

Others believe she should be allowed to come home, then face trial for her crimes. The circumstances are complex and difficult, now seeming likely the teen will loose her British citizenship. Begum caused outrage when she likened the Manchester terrorist attacks to military airstrikes.

Begum, 19, escaped the terrorist group whilst heavily pregnant to a refugee camp in Syria. where she has given birth. Now, she has announced she regrets leaving the UK to join ISIS, and wishes to come home.

Shamima Begum was just fifteen when she was radicalized by the terrorist group Islamic State and left her home in London join ISIS, becoming one of the youngest Brits to ever join. 

Her mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2013 and told she had only six months to live. Begum’s mother died in January 2014, when it is believed that she was targeted by online extremists who took advantage of her vulnerable grieving state. She fled to Syria less than a year later.

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Begum, aged 15. Credit: BBC

By joining a terrorist group, she has broken the law and despite now being in a refugee camp, the UK government cannot directly help her as ministers will not order personnel to risk their lives. Around half of the Brits who have left for Syria or Iraq have returned, as the government have specialist units to deal with this situation.

Responding to concerns that her return could endanger lives, Begum told Sky News: “They don’t have any evidence against me doing anything dangerous. When I went to Syria, I was just a housewife, the entire four years I stayed at home, took care of my husband, took care of my kids. I never did anything. I never made propaganda, I never encouraged people to come to Syria.”  

The situation remains complex, as her child is British the government has legal duties to take her son’s welfare into account. It is unknown what the consequences will be after she loses her British Citizenship, which family lawyers now say will happen.

In an interview with Sky News, Shamima is shown with her newly born son. She says she does not regret her time with Islamic State and until recently it was everything they sold it as. 


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Film Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Editor in Chief at Brig Newspaper. Edinburgh / Stirling

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