Shamima Begum: Being stripped of my British citizenship is hard to swallow and unjust
Shamima Begum, the Isil bride, has described being stripped of her British citizenship is "unjust" and "hard to swallow" after she was shown the Home Office's documentation of the decision. The 19-year-old, who had expressed the desire to return to the UK with her newborn son, was banned on Tuesday from entering the country. At a refugee camp in northeastern Syria, she was shown the Government's letter, showing that she is no longer a British national. "I don't know what to say," she told ITV News. "I am not that shocked but I am a bit shocked. It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son." She added: "It’s kind of heart-breaking to read. My family made it sound like it would be a lot easier for me to come back to the UK when I was speaking to them in Baghouz. It’s kind of hard to swallow." Isil bride Shamima Begum | Read more Begum claimed that she was being treated harshly because "I was on the news four years ago", saying that she heard of "other people being sent back to Britain". "I don't know why my case is any different," she added. International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, prompting speculation that Begum held dual citizenship through her Bangladeshi parents. But on Wednesday morning, Begum's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said his client does not have dual nationality. While her family have said they are "considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision", Begum said she may explore a potential citizenship route through her Dutch husband. "Another option I might try with my family is my husband is from Holland and he has family in Holland," she said. "Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland. If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison." She married Isil fighter Yago Riedjik in Syria having travelled to the Middle East from Bethnal Green in east London in 2015. Begum have birth to their third child on Sunday. Her two other children died in Syria. Shamima Begum's Dutch-born husband Yago Riedjik In a letter sent to her family in Bethnal Green, east London, on Tuesday, officials said the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, had made the decision in "light of the circumstances". The letter read: "Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship. "In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made." The letter went on to urge Ms Begum's family to make the teenager aware of the decision, but added that she had a right to appeal. Isil schoolgirls' journey into Syria In a statement the family's lawyer said they were very disappointed by the move. Despite saying she wants to bring her baby son up in the peace and security of the UK, Begum has insisted she has no regrets about travelling to Syria. She has also been criticised for likening the deaths of 22 people in the Manchester Arena terror attack to the civilians being bombed in Isil territory. Begum defends Manchester Arena bombing The teenager, who gave birth to a baby boy on the weekend, appeared to defend the Manchester Arena bombing as tit-for-tat retaliation for air strikes in Syria. In an interview with the BBC, she said the deaths of 22 innocent people in the terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 were akin to the "women and children" being bombed in Isil territory in Baghuz. She told the broadcaster: "I do feel that it's wrong that innocent people did get killed. It's one thing to kill a soldier that is fighting you, it's self-defence, but to kill the people like women and children... "Just people like the women and children in Baghuz that are being killed right now unjustly, the bombings. It's a two-way thing really. "Because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now and it's kind of retaliation. Like, their justification was that it was retaliation so I thought 'OK, that is a fair justification'." She was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages and partly by other propaganda films showing the "good life" IS could offer. 'Show me some sympathy', says Isil bride after giving birth The British schoolgirl who ran away to join Isil appealed for public sympathy following the birth of her son on Sunday. In an interview with Sky News recorded at the Kurdish-controlled camp to which she fled from the last pocket of Isil-controlled territory, Begum said there was "no evidence" she had done anything wrong and she could not see "any reason" why her child should be taken from her when she had simply been living as a housewife. Speaking just hours after giving birth, her baby at her side, she said she had no regrets about fleeing the family home in Bethnal Green, east London, to support Isil, claiming the experience had made her "stronger, tougher". She said she could see a future for herself and her son, whom she has named Jarah after one of the two children she lost to malnutrition and disease in the last three months, "if the UK are willing to take me back and help me start a new life again and try and move on from everything that’s happened in the last four years". She added: "I wouldn’t have found someone like my husband [Yago Riedijk, 26, a Muslim convert from the Netherlands] in the UK. I had my kids, I had a good time there." Her other children, Jarah and Surayah, a daughter, died aged 18 months and nine months. Asked how she felt about the debate over whether she should be allowed to return home, Begum said: "I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through. "I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left, I just was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they let me come back. "I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible." In the interview, Begum apologised for the first time to her family for running away, and said that though she knew it was "like a big slap in the face" for her to ask after she had previously rejected their calls for her to return, "I really need their help". Begum was 'OK' with Isil beheadings The Isil bride said last week she was attracted to Isil by videos that she had seen online, which she said showed "how they’ll take care of you". She said she knew that the group carried out beheadings, but that she "was OK with it at first. I started becoming religious just before I left and from what I heard Islamically that is all allowed". "At first it was nice," she said of life in the so-called Islamic State. "It was how they showed it in the videos, you know, you come, make a family together, but then things got harder. "We had to keep moving and moving and moving. The situation got fraught." Begum acknowledged that it would be "really hard" to be rehabilitated after everything she had been through. "I’m still in that mentality of planes over my head, emergency backpacks, starving... it would be a big shock to go back to the UK and start again," she said. READ MORE: Allison Pearson: Thank God, Sajid Javid grasped Shamima Begum is the one person uniting Britain – against her READ MORE: Allison Pearson: Sorry my heartless little jihadi bride, but you made your bed and now you can lie in it Continue Reading
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