Dutch national turned Islamic State fighter Yago Riedijk has said it was a “huge mistake” to join the terror group, and that all he wants is to move to the Netherlands and “raise a family” with his jihadi bride Shamima Begum.
Speaking to the BBC, 27-year-old Riedijk claimed that despite travelling to Kobane and Aleppo to fight with Islamic State he “wasn’t really a fighter” and hardly used his weapon.
The Islamic extremist is being held in a Kurdish-controlled detention centre in north-eastern Syria and told BBC Middle East correspondent Quentin Sommerville, “I made a huge mistake. I’ve thrown away years of my life. It was not my life.
“Luckily, I didn’t directly hurt other people,” he claimed. “But me joining and supporting a group like that. It’s something that’s not acceptable.”
Seeming to be better schooled in appearing contrite than his UK-born wife, who was criticised for her lack of remorse while demanding to be allowed to return to Britain in recent interviews, Mr Reidijk said, “I would love to go back to my own country which I now understand the privileges that I lived with. The privilege of living there as a citizen.
The Dutch husband of Shamima Begum, who joined the Islamic State group in Syria aged 15, says he wants her to return to the Netherlands with him
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 3, 2019
“And, of course, I understand that many people have a problem with what I did and I totally understand that.
“I have to take responsibility for what I did, serve my sentence. But I hope to be able to return to a normal life and to raise a family,” claimed the Dutch national, who instructed his wife to name their recently-born son after a historical jihadi warlord famous for slaughtering “infidels”.
After she claimed to have been unfazed by seeing a severed head in a bin in Syria and appearing to regret that the Caliphate was collapsing, her husband claimed that he had kept her “in a protected shell” and that was she unaware of the beheadings, stonings, and slavery going on around her.
“She was just sitting inside taking care of the household while I was trying to get by,” the Islamic State fighter suggested.
“Feed her, feed myself. Try to keep out of trouble. Try to not getting killed by secret services.
“You know, making decisions that changed our lives, trying to keep us in safety.”
Asked whether he knew of any fighters who had kept slaves from the minority Yazidi sect — members of which have been persecuted, murdered, and sold into sexual slavery by the Islamic terror group’s fighters — he said that he knew of a fellow Dutch national who had one.
“That’s about as close as I ever got to a slave. I heard she was about 40 years old,” he claimed to the BBC.
Islamic State Fighter Given Medical Treatment in Sweden, Then Returned to Fight https://t.co/FJDjJMA9fh
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 3, 2019
In February, Home Secretary Sajid Javid revoked Ms Begum’s British citizenship, a move backed by a Kurdish-Yazidi refugee living in Coventry.
Rozin Khalil, 21, told BirminghamLive that many of the thousands of Yazidi women and children slaves will never be able to return home or have any hope of escape because of Islamic State, and said she was “shocked” by Begum’s behaviour after being found in a Syrian refugee camp.
“She showed no remorse whatsoever. She left at the age of 15, when she knew the rights and wrongs, and it was entirely her choice,” the Yazidi rights campaigner said.
“Even considering allowing her back into the UK is setting a bad example, it shows other terror groups in the future that we are a soft touch because we will allow their wives, children and supporters back into the country.”
Sky News admitted on Saturday that “most” of the people at al Hawl refugee camp who left the last Islamic State stronghold in Syria are “still fanatical” supporters of the terror group, noting that one woman told the broadcaster that the Caliphate would one day rise from the ashes.
"I didn't want to be IS poster girl" – London teenager Shamima Begum, who fled to join Islamic State group in Syria, says she now wants the UK's forgiveness
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) February 18, 2019