Shamima is not a threat.
Shamima Begum is on the news again as the Court of Appeal has ruled that she can return to the UK to fight for her citizenship. Begum, 20, was stripped of her UK citizenship in early 2019 and is currently in a refugee camp in North East Syria, living in harsh and difficult conditions.
She was born and raised in the London area of Bethnal Green to Bangladeshi parents. In 2015 she left the UK with her two friends, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultan and travelled to the Syrian city of Raqqa via Turkey where she married a Dutch fighter, Yago Riedijk.
At least one of her friends has been killed and the whereabouts of the other is unknown. Begum lived under Islamic State rule for more than three years.
Give her a chance to tell her story
She was found in a refugee camp in early 2019. She was heavily pregnant at the time with her third child. The British government revoked her citizenship and barred her from returning to the UK. The then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid cancelled her citizenship on security grounds. Her intention to return to the UK resulted in a public debate about the handling of terror suspects who want to return to the UK.
Her lawyer has stated that she hasn’t had the chance to tell her side of the story. It is illegal under international law to make someone stateless. Without a nationality, a person will not be able to travel, have access to healthcare or employment and have no way of supporting themselves. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that every human has the right to a nationality.
The British government argued that by revoking her citizenship she wouldn’t become stateless as she was eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship. The Government of Bangladesh, however, stated that Begum was not a Bangladeshi citizen and would not be allowed to enter the country.
“It is wrong to judge her actions carried out when she was a child of 15 as she has paid for that terrible mistake ever since.”
Have Some Pity
While still a child she was brainwashed online and left the UK with two other impressionable young girls. She has been traumatised by living in a warzone and worse, has lost three children. Two boys and one girl, all who died from sickness or malnutrition. To lose even one child is any mother’s worst nightmare.
It is wrong to judge her actions carried out when she was a child of 15 as she has paid for that terrible mistake ever since. She deserves pity for being groomed and manipulated. Admittedly she made a grave mistake joining the so called Islamic State and should face charges as a result, but it is wrong to leave her in the squalor of a refugee camp with no hope.
She is British, born here, raised and educated here but under the manipulation of recruiters, she naively left to join the glamorised ‘Islamic State.’ Though many would say she deserves everything that has happened to her, it is basic humanity to forgive a mistake made by a 15 year old girl who was never involved in actual fighting or acts of terror. She also said in an interview that the Islamic State did not deserve victory because of their corruption and oppression. This signals her changed and more mature opinion of the terror group. She is not a threat.