Shamima Begum directly addressed prime minister Boris Johnson as she appealed for her return to the UK in a live broadcast interview.
Begum has attempted to distance herself from the beliefs of ISIS after she travelled from the UK to Syria at the age of 15 to show her support for the group, saying in an interview today that she in ‘no way’ agrees with the actions of the militant group.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Begum described her decision to join the group in 2015 as a ‘mistake’ and appealed for the forgiveness of the British people.
She later directed her comments at Johnson in particular, stating that it’s clear the prime minister is ‘struggling with extremism and terrorism’ in the UK and claiming that she wants to ‘help’.
Begum said: ‘I want to help with that… telling you my own experience with these extremists and what they say and how they persuade people to do what they do and to come to places like Syria.’
See footage of the interview below:
‘I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing,’ she continued.
Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid questioned why Begum couldn’t go to Bangladesh, where she has citizenship, to which Begum responded to say she had never been to Bangladesh and does ‘not have claim of Bangladeshi citizenship’.
Now 22, Begum was born in the UK to parents of Bangladeshi heritage, though she had her British citizenship revoked by the Home Office in 2020.
Speaking to the hosts, she continued: ‘Bangladesh has already said that they will never let me back in, and they said if I do ever come back in… it will be the death penalty for me.’
Begum went on to question how a country ‘like the UK’, which does not believe in the death penalty, could expect her to go to a country where she ‘will be killed’.
Begum is not currently allowed to return to the UK, meaning for now she has to remain in Syria and ‘wait’. She said: ‘There’s nothing more I can do but wait in this camp and try to better myself while I’m here, and I’ll just wallow in my own self pity and don’t do anything stupid.’
After her citizenship was revoked, Begum claimed that she should be allowed to return to the UK to make her case as she could not do so from the camp where she resided in Syria, though the Home Office argued her return would create ‘significant national security risks’, BBC News reports.
The Supreme Court ruled the government was entitled to prevent Begum from returning to the UK, though it has also ordered that the legal battle over her citizenship be put on hold until Begum can find a way to take part in it.
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CreditsGood Morning Britain/Twitter
Good Morning Britain/Twitter
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