Shamima Begum, 21, claims that she was just a “dumb kid” when she travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State and begged “pretty please” to return to the UK.
Begum, who left her London home aged 15 in 2015 to marry a Dutch jihadist in Syria, made the remarks in an interview with journalist Andrew Drury for his documentary Danger Zone.
In comments and footage shared by the Daily Mail, Ms Begum said: “I don’t think I was a terrorist. I think I was just a dumb kid who made one mistake.”
She continued that she did not think she needed to be rehabilitated, but rather could be in a position to deradicalise others, saying: “I would want to help other people be rehabilitated. I would love to help.”
Reminiscent of The Telegraph‘s bizarre celebrity-style photo shoot in March, the Daily Mail appeared to fawn over Begum’s new look, remarking the 21-year-old was “again showing off her slick new western image seen in other recent encounters with the media”.
“With fingernails painted red as she held a fashionable clutch bag, she now looks very different from her previous image as a jihadi bride in hijab and head scarf,” the newspaper gushed.
Responding to questions about her less Islamically-modest attire, Begum told Drury: “I wear these clothes, and I don’t wear a hijab, because it makes me happy. And anything in this camp that makes me happy is like a lifesaver.”
Shamima Bae! ‘Conservative’ Newspaper Publishes Bizarre Celebrity-Style Photo Shoot of Jihadi Bride https://t.co/YjUMnveH01
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 15, 2021
Begum is currently held at the al-Roj camp in Syria. When a Times journalist found her at the al Hol refugee camp in 2019, Begum described being unphased by seeing severed heads and claimed to have no regrets about joining the murderous terror group. In subsequent interviews, Begum appeared to condone the Islamist terror attack at the Manchester Arena and appeared disappointed that Islamic State was losing ground.
Begum has since said she made the statements out of fear of reprisals from other hardline Islamists living at the camp, if she denounced the Islamic State.
As a 15-year-old, Begum had travelled to the warzone with the now-deceased schoolmates-turned-ISIS-brides Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase because, she had claimed, she did not want to be left behind when her friends left for Syria.
Shamima Begum Should Be Treated as a Threat, Says UK Counter-Terror Chief https://t.co/uvXHRV5EOA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 16, 2020
Speaking during another documentary entitled The Return: Life After Isis, Begum said: “I knew it was a big decision, but I just felt compelled to do it quickly.
“I didn’t want to be the friend that was left behind.”
Begum had also claimed during Life After Isis that she joined the terror group because she “didn’t feel loved as a child’”.
In 2019, then-Home Secretary Sajid Javid ordered Begum be stripped of her British citizenship on grounds she represented a security threat. The Supreme Court ordered in February 2021 that Begum could not return to the UK to appeal the decision.
Drury asked Begum what she would tell those in the UK who did not want her to come back, responding: “Can I come home please, pretty please?”
Delingpole: Shamima Begum – Winning Western Hearts and Minds with the Gentle, Smiling Face of Islam… https://t.co/Pb0Hp0kM4H
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 19, 2019