UK Facing ISIS Bride Influx as More Than a Dozen Show Up at Syrian Camps

Veiled women, reportedly wives and members of the Islamic State, walk under the supervision of a female fighter from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) at al-Hol camp in al-Hasakeh governorate in northeastern Syria on February 17, 2019. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP) (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

UK authorities are facing the “headache” of an influx of returning ISIS fighters’ wives and children after the fall of the terror group’s caliphate in Syria, according to reports.

In the past week alone at least 12 women with UK citizenship have shown up at refugee camps in northern Syria as operations to drive ISIS out of its last pocket of territory in the Middle Eastern nation draw to a close.

On Tuesday, the UK Home Office announced it had revoked the citizenship of Shamima Begum after uproar over news that the 19-year-old ISIS bride, who says she doesn’t regret joining the terrorist group, sought to be flown back to Britain.

But the government is far from drawing a close to the row with the move, according to the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, who stressed that the continuing arrival of British passport-holding jihadi wives illustrated that “this whole issue of what to do with these [ISIS] women and other supporters isn’t going to go away”.

“We know that in the last week alone, 12 British women have arrived at displacement camps here in northern Syria. So for the British Government, this headache of what to do doesn’t end with Shamima Begum,” the Middle East correspondent commented.

Legal experts say Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to block the teenager from coming back to the UK will not necessarily hold, noting that Begum — who is of Bangladeshi descent — could use her newborn son to circumvent the move, and regain residence rights in her country of birth.

Asserting that the Syria-born baby, whose Islamist fighter father carried a Dutch passport, “is British so maintains his nationality”, London-based immigration lawyer Asif Salam said Begum would likely get an extended period of time to appeal the government’s decision.

The former resident of Bethnal Green, London, “could by default get back her nationality or get a limited leave to remain – to be able to live with her child in the UK”, Salam told Mirror Online, adding: “The child cannot possibly live without his mother, it’s not in his best interest for the child to be in the UK without the mother.”

The revocation of Begum’s British nationality has been further complicated by Bangladesh, her ancestral homeland, refusing to take the jihadi bride in. Under international law, the UK can only cancel a subject’s citizenship if they have another one to fall back on.

While Bangladesh law generally allows for automatic citizenship for members of their global diaspora and the children of Bangladeshi emigrants, the government rejected that it would be possible in Begum’s case. A spokesman for the Bangladesh foreign office said:

“She is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with Bangladesh… It may also be mentioned that she never visited Bangladesh in the past despite her parental lineage. So, there is no question of her being allowed to enter into Bangladesh.”

Liberal-left commentators in Britain lamented the revocation of Begum’s citizenship, with the globalist Guardian newspaper publishing a number of pieces urging the Home Office to welcome the admittedly “unrepentant” teenager — who it acknowledged was “unmoved by the sight of a severed head [and] showed no sympathy for executed hostages” — back to Britain.

Contrary to assertions that Begum and other young females who left Britain to join ISIS’ caliphate in the Middle East were ‘victims’ who were somehow failed by British society, and naive teenagers “groomed” by internet propagandists, a newly published analysis of 20 cases by the Henry Jackson Society revealed that ISIS brides “had self-radicalised”, and — compared to male jihadists — had been “more active and independent in seeking out extremist material”.

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