Isis Teen Bride Shamima Begum Says She Regrets Speaking Out

As her father suggests he does not have sympathy for his daughter.

Isis teen bride Shamima Begum has said she regrets speaking to the media following a backlash at her plea to return to Britain.

Begum, 19, fled Bethnal Green, east London, as a 15-year-old schoolgirl with two friends in 2015 to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State.

She was tracked down by The Times newspaper to a refugee camp in the north of the war-torn nation two weeks ago. Since then, she’s given several interviews with media in a bid to return to Britain with her newborn baby son.

But the effort led Home Secretary Sajid Javid to order Begum be stripped of her British citizenship, preventing her from returning to the UK.

Shamima Begum, who fled Britain to support Isis in 2015, has said she regrets seeking publicity following a backlash at her bid to return to the UK.
Shamima Begum, who fled Britain to support Isis in 2015, has said she regrets seeking publicity following a backlash at her bid to return to the UK.

And speaking with the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Begum has now said she regrets seeking publicity and wishes she had contacted her family in another way.

“They are making an example of me. I regret speaking to the media. I wish I had stayed low and found a different way to contact my family. That’s why I spoke to the newspaper,” she said.

The home secretary revoked Begum’s citizenship in a move only permissible under international law if it does not leave the individual stateless.

It was speculated that Begum – who is of Bangladeshi heritage – may have citizenship there but Bangladesh’s minister of state for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam denied this.

Her family have written to Javid asking for his help to bring her newborn son to Britain.

The letter to Sajid Javid said the baby boy was a “true innocent” who should not “lose the privilege of being raised in the safety of this country”.

Her sister Remu Begum, writing on behalf of the family, asked how they could help the Home Secretary “in bringing my nephew home to us”.

The family said they have had no contact with Begum and had only learned she had given birth to a boy through media reports.

They made clear that they were “shocked and appalled” at the “vile comments” Begum had recently made to the media.

Begum added to the Sunday Telegraph that she believed media attention had led to her receiving preferential treatment in the al-Hol refugee camp.

“They gave me my own tent. They’re being a bit nice to me right now because I’m all over the news,” she said.

Meanwhile, her father, Ahmed Ali, 60, said he “does not have a problem” with the government’s stance and suggested he did not have sympathy for his daughter due to her lack of remorse.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday at his home in the Sunamganj region of north-east Bangladesh, he said: “I am on the side of the government. I can’t say whether it is right or wrong, but if the law of the land says that it is correct to cancel her citizenship, then I agree.

“If she at least admitted she made a mistake then I would feel sorry for her and other people would feel sorry for her. But she does not accept her wrong.”

Javid’s removal of Begum’s citizenship came amid heated debate over whether the teenager should be able to return to the UK after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp with the terror group’s reign nearly over.

While many do not want to see Begum return to the UK, others have argued she should face prosecution for her actions, and attempts at deradicalisation.

The Begum family’s lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said she was born in the UK, has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a dual citizen, which was confirmed by the Bangladeshi minister.