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Shamima Begum Says She Was Just ‘A Dumb Kid Who Made One Mistake’

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 15 Jun 2021 08:32
Shamima Begum Says She Was Just 'A Dumb Kid Who Made One Mistake'Sky News/PA

Shamima Begum has described herself as a ‘dumb kid’ while pleading to the British government to allow her to come back to the UK.

British-born Begum left the UK in 2015 at the age of 15 to join Islamic State. She went on to marry a Dutch jihadi and was stripped of her British citizenship three years ago.

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The now 21-year-old’s lawyers later appealed this decision, but in July 2020, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) said the decision to remove Begum’s British citizenship was lawful.

Since then, she has been told she cannot return to the UK to appeal the removal of her citizenship.

Shamima Begum (Sky News)Sky News

Nearly a year later, Begum is still without her British citizenship and has been living at al-Roj prison camp in Syria.

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But, despite her decision to join terrorist group Islamic State, the young woman insists she doesn’t need to be rehabilitated and said leaving the UK was a mistake.

Speaking to journalist Andrew Drury, Begum said, as per Mail Online:

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.

In photographs of the interview between the two taking place, Begum can be seen no longer wearing her traditional Islamic dress, but a T-shirt, jeans and a Nike cap.

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Shamima Begum (PA)PA Images

Drury was interviewing her for an upcoming film, named Danger Zone.

Discussing her new Westernised look, she said, ‘I wear these clothes, and I don’t wear a hijab, because it makes me happy. And anything in this camp that makes me happy is like a lifesaver.’

When asked what she would say to people in the UK who do not want her to return, Begum said, ‘Can I come home please, pretty please?’

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Since interviewing Begum, Drury said his opinion of her has changed and described her as ‘a vulnerable 21-year-old who did something unbelievably stupid.’

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

‘It was a childish mistake from a 15-year-old,’ he added.

In a separate interview, Begum said she only joined ISIS because she ‘didn’t want to be left behind.’

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Speaking on Sky’s The Return: Life after ISIS documentary, she said, ‘I knew it was a big decision but I just felt compelled to do it quickly. I didn’t want to be the friend that was left behind.’

Featured Image credits: Sky News/PA Images 

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, ISIS, Now, Shamima Begum, syria

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Mail Online
  1. Mail Online

    'Can I come home, pretty please?... I would love to help others': New look jihadi bride Shamima Begum says she was a 'dumb kid' when she fled to Syria aged 15 - but insists she doesn't need to be rehabilitated