Shamima Begum explained how she thought she was “doing the right thing as a Muslim” when she first fled the UK to join Isis in Syria, supposedly unaware it was a “death cult” in an interview on Wednesday.
Begum has been trying to return to the UK, where she grew up, since 2019 but the Home Office revoked her British citizenship in 2020 and stated she should never be allowed to return.
During her first ever live interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, she promised to aid the authorities in its fight against Isis terrorists in the UK and vowed to face any legal consequences of her decision as long as she could return home.
Looking back to her decision to flee in 2015, Begum explained: “I did not want to hurt anyone in Syria or anywhere else in the world.
“At the time, trust me, I did not know it was a death cult, I thought it was an Islamic community that I was joining, and at the time, I had just started becoming very religious.
“I was being fed a lot of information on the internet by people in Isis telling me I need to come, I can’t be a good Muslim in the UK, and that my family will drag me down with them.”
She said she “made a mistake at a very young age” and asked for the British people to forgive her, even though it will be hard.
Begum added: “They’ve lived in fear of Isis and lost loved ones because of Isis – but I have also lived in fear of Isis and lost loved ones of Isis.”
She concluded: “I say from the bottom of my heart that I am so sorry if I ever offended anyone.”
Begum apologised for her previous interviews, where she refused to admit she had made a mistake joining Isis, and claimed she was not aware of the full extent of the terror group’s crimes at the time.
She also claimed the government “clearly don’t know what they’re doing in the fight against terrorism in the UK”, and suggested she would be able to help, having been on the inside of Isis.
But, health secretary Sajid Javid – the home secretary back in 2019– told Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that it was “absolutely the right decision to protect the British people” and not permit Begum’s UK return.
He added that the Supreme Court backed his decision.