Shamima Begum, Who Joined the Islamic State, Has “No Regrets” But Wants to Come Home

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Shamima Begum left the U.K. in 2015 to join the Islamic State, of which she was then, and remains now, a supporter. She was 15 at the time. When she left the U.K., the Islamic State had already been beheading Christians, Yazidis, and Shi’a Muslims for more than a year. In 2014, the IS fighters had decapitated James Foley, an American journalist, and Alan Henning, a British aid worker. So Shamima Begum knew exactly what kind of group she was joining. She soon married an IS fighter. Now that the last redoubt of ISIS in Syria is about to fall, Shamima Begum has fled to a refugee camp in Syria. She wants to come back to the U.K. She has just been stripped of her British citizenship, but the controversy still rages: should she have been allowed back into the country?

She has not declared her disaffection with, much less horror at, the Islamic State. In fact, she remains committed to the murderous ideology of the Islamic State. She has told the BBC that “she had no regrets but wanted to have her baby — she is pregnant — in the U.K. “No regrets” about being a supporter of the homicidal fanatics of ISIS for five years. Keep that uppermost in mind.

Shamima Begum had her baby, a boy, in Syria after all. So her main reason for wanting to return to the U.K., which she had earlier claimed was in order to assure the safe delivery of her baby, no longer applies. What is of note is that she named the baby Jerah, the same name she had given her first-born son, in what historians have interpreted as a reference to Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, a 7th century Islamic warlord, one of Muhammad’s Companions, famous for killing Infidels. At the Battle of Badr in 624, Abu Ubaidah fought his own father, Abdullah ibn al-Jarrah, who had been fighting on the side of the army of the Quraysh. He later attacked and killed his father. The following verse of the Quran was written about this display of character by Abu Ubaidah:

“Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity. (Qur’an 58:22)

Perhaps the little boy will grow up and emulate the warrior he was named after. Something, though not by any means the only thing, for Shamima Begum to worry about.

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, says Shamima Begum could be prevented from returning to the UK.

“My message is clear,” Sajid Javid told the Times: “If you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return.”

He added that if Shamima Begum, 19, did come home she could be prosecuted.

“We must remember that those who left Britain to join Daesh were full of hate for our country,” Mr Javid said.

“If you do manage to return you should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.”

Mr Javid added that there were a range of measures available to “stop people who pose a serious threat from returning to the UK, including depriving them of their British citizenship or excluding them from the country.”

Bravo for Sajid Javid. That this commonsensical attitude by the Home Secretary should be questioned by some among the Great and Good of the United Kingdom — see below — is deplorable.

Security chiefs in London could also control Ms Begum’s possible return through a Temporary Exclusion Order.

The controversial legal tool bars a British citizen from returning home until they have agreed to investigation, monitoring and, if required, deradicalisation.

However Lord Carlile, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said Ms Begum would have to be accepted back into the UK if she had not become a national of any other country.

Under international law, it is not possible to render a person stateless.

When the needs of national security bump up against so-called “international law,” any leader in his right mind will simply refuse to recognize that “international law.” Who’s going to enforce it? A bunch of U.N. peacekeepers? And what U.N. Security Council Resolution (the only kind that is binding) that requires a country to allow back former nationals who have travelled abroad to join such groups as the Islamic State — will not be vetoed by the U.S, or the U.K., or France, or even — for they are just as wary of Islam as the West — China or Russia?

When someone leaves the U.K. to join a terrorist group that likes to kill non-Muslims (which includes most people in the U.K.), that person has become a traitor. The U.K. should be able to strip such a person of citizenship, as Javid suggests, and keep him or her from returning to the country.

Shamima Begum was legally a child when she pinned her colours to the Islamic State mast.

And if she were still under 18 years old, the government would have a duty to take her and her unborn child’s “best interests” into account in deciding what to do next.

But she’s now an apparently unrepentant adult – and that means she would have to account for her decisions, even if her journey is a story of grooming and abuse.

She may have been “groomed” — that is, subject to propagandists, likely online,  for the Islamic State, but she’s had four years in Raqqa to rethink her initial enthusiasm, and apparently nothing she experienced in the Islamic State caused her to change her mind. Hers is not a story of “grooming and abuse.”

Another British jihadi bride, Tareena Shakil, who got out of the war zone with her child, lied to the security services on her return and was jailed for membership of [sic] a terrorist group.

If Ms Begum got out of the country, that is the kind of charge she could face – along with encouraging or supporting terrorism.

But that’s a long way off. Assuming she made it to an airport, the UK could temporarily ban her from returning until she agreed to be investigated, monitored and deradicalised.

And what about those who previously seemed to have been successfully “deradicalized” in various programs, not only in the U.K. — that is, they supplied all the “right” answers that were expected of them — but later were found to continue to be supporters of, or  even participants in, terrorism? There is not much hard evidence that “deradicalization” programs work, though extravagant claims have been made, nor is there even agreement on how to properly evaluate whether these programs work or not, as the report here makes clear.

Social services would also certainly step in to consider whether her child should be removed to protect him or her from radicalisation.

In an interview with the Times, Ms Begum, who married an IS fighter, showed little remorse for her involvement with the terror group and said she was not fazed by seeing “beheaded heads” in bins.

“I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago,” she said.

No, four years later, she’s not “that same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl,” but a silly little and morally moronic 19-year-old adult who saw the Islamic State from within for four years, and apparently did not object to anything she experienced. She was not fazed by the decapitations she witnessed, nor by the heads piled high in bins. She summed up her four years with ISIS:

I don’t regret coming here.”

However, she said that after the “shock” of losing two children to illness while living in Syria, she was scared her unborn baby would also die if she stayed in the refugee camp to which she fled last month.

She said: “I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.

Ms Begum said life in the one-time IS stronghold of Raqqa had lived up to her expectations: “The life that they show on the propaganda videos – it’s a normal life.

“Every now and then there are bombs and stuff. But other than that…”

Ah, yes, that “normal life” that “lived up to her expectations.” If it were a Yelp review, she’d give the Islamic State five stars. “Met or exceeded expectations.”

But she said she felt the IS “caliphate” was at an end.

I don’t have high hopes. They are just getting smaller and smaller,” she said. “And there is so much oppression and corruption going on that I don’t really think they deserve victory.”

So she doesn’t have “high hopes” that her beloved Islamic State can hold on: the territory it controls is “just getting smaller and smaller.” Sad. But perhaps Allah wanted it this way, for she suggests that those now ruling IS “don’t really deserve victory.” Not because they have committed thousands of murders of innocents — that doesn’t bother her — but because there is “much oppression and corruption.” By “oppression” Shamima Begum means the threats ISIS, now desperate, has to use to keep its fighters, and their families, from running away, and by “corruption” she means those ISIS members who have taken possession of property left behind by fleeing Syrians, or who have pocketed bribes by those who want to be allowed to flee the Islamic State’s territory.

Ms Begum’s family have appealed for the teenager to be shown mercy.

Her brother-in-law Mohammed Rahman, 36, told the Times: “She was so young – I don’t think she had the life experience to make those decisions.”

“I think the hope would be that she would be allowed to return home, as long as the government is satisfied she has turned her back on their ideology,” he said.

But everything Shamima Begum has said shows she is still in thrall to, and enthralled by, that ideology. Has Mr. Rahman forgotten that she has “no regrets” and found living in IS, where heads were regularly chopped off, as  perfectly “normal”? Keep that in mind: “The life they show on the propaganda videos — it’s a normal life.”

Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls, along with Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, from Bethnal Green Academy in east London, who left the UK for Syria in February 2015.

She escaped from Baghuz – IS’s last territory in eastern Syria – two weeks ago.

Her husband surrendered to a group of Syrian fighters as they left, and she is now one of 39,000 people in a camp in northern Syria.

Diane Foley – whose son James, an American journalist, was kidnapped and beheaded by IS seven years ago – said that the group’s supporters did not “necessarily” have to be treated as criminals and deserved a trial.”

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that she felt “very strongly that Isis continues to be a threat,” adding: “It’s very difficult to discern how much of a threat they continue to be when they want to return home. “We have to be very careful and very vigilant with any of these folks who have been involved in so many human rights atrocities.”

Diane Foley is far too generous: she apparently feels that because Shamima was “only” a supporter of ISIS, and not a fighter, she “did not necessarily have to be treated as a criminal and deserved a trial.” Here is where she differs, alas, from Sajid Javid, who believes that if you leave your country and go off to join the Islamic State, knowing full well of its atrocities, and if, further, you remain loyal to the Islamic State for four years, that is until it totally disintegrates,  and you have “no regrets” for doing so, and want to return to the U.K. only in order to guarantee the safe delivery of your baby, then you should be treated not just as a criminal, but as someone who must not be allowed back into the country you so obviously hate.

But what if Shamima “promises” to undergo a “deradicalisation” program in order to return to the U.K. “War is deceit,” claimed Muhammad, and of course Shamima Begum will say whatever she needs to, to prove that her “deradicalisation” has worked. For four years she was an enthusiastic supporter of, and accomplice to, the mass murder of Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims at the hands of Islamic State fighters like her husband. She still claims the sight of severed heads in a basket left her indifferent. She has “no regrets.” Does such a person deserve to be admitted back into the U.K.? Or to keep her citizenship?

Shamima Begum became a traitor to her own country the moment she left to join the Islamic State. She had four long years to reconsider her enthusiasm for the Islamic State, when every sort of atrocity was being committed by its fighters, including her husband. She never did. Even now she wants to be readmitted to the U.K. not because of any change of heart, but only because she is pregnant and, having lost two children to illness in the Islamic State, wants to ensure that her third child survive, thanks to the National Health Service that British Infidels fund.

Shamima Begum does not deserve to be allowed back into the U.K. under any conditions. If she were so allowed, by having agreed to a “deradicalisation” program, and then feigning a change of heart, which apparently would give her the right to be re-integrated into society, she would escape suitable punishment for her treasonous activities, in lending aid and comfort to ISIS. Had ISIS held onto its territory, she would, having “no regrets,” be living in ISIS territory still.

Instead of returning to the U.K., let her share the fate of other Islamic State women who have been captured, and are now in Syrian prisons. It’s not a pleasant ending. But why should her ending be pleasant? Why should it not be miserable?

There will be more Islamic State branches attempting in the future to seize territory. One, or a few, might temporarily succeed. And when they do, there will be other impressionable Muslims leaving Western Europe and North America to join them. Those that become disenchanted immediately, within a few weeks, might reasonably be allowed to return, right away, to face only Western justice, and a prison term of several years. But all those thinking of joining this camp of Muslim murderers, whatever name they give themselves, should be put on notice, with the example of Shamima Begum front and center, that once you choose to join the Islamic State, or any similar group, you will be stripped of your citizenship, and not be allowed to return to the country you betrayed, whatever “international law” has to say about statelessness.

If current laws are insufficient to ensure this outcome, then Western governments must pass the laws that will be sufficient, something to the effect that “Anyone who willingly leaves Country X to join any terror group, and remains with that group for a period exceeding one month, will be stripped of citizenship and not be allowed to return” to Country X.” The word “Islam” need not be mentioned; it would be understood.

What then happens to them, these now “stateless” beings, someone asks in anguish, out of a diseased sympathy. Why should we care? Those people who worry so much about the proper treatment of Muslim terrorists and their sympathizers are on the one hand. We are on the other.

On February 19 came the glad news that the Home Office in the U.K. has revoked the citizenship of Shamima Begum. Her family is “disappointed.” Sensible people, on the other hand, will be delighted, and grateful to Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, for his swift decision.

For those who may need a reminder of the moral idiocy of Shamima Begum, here are a half-dozen of her recent remarks:

1. During an interview with Sky News, Ms Begum was asked how she felt about the debate in the UK as to whether she should be allowed to come home.

She responded: “I think a lot of people should have, like, sympathy towards me for everything I’ve been through.”

2. During the same interview, she was asked if she knew about the beheadings and executions carried out by the Islamic State.

She replied: “Yeah, I knew about those things and I was okay with it. Because, you know, I started becoming religious just before I left.

“From what I heard, Islamically that is all allowed. So I was okay with it.”

3. In an interview with The Times earlier in February, Ms Begum had spoken of seeing “beheaded heads” in bins, but admitted it “did not faze her.”

4. When asked whether she had any regrets, Ms. Begum responded: “No.”

She said she had no second thoughts until the death of her son, telling Sky her second thoughts came: “Only at the end after my son died. I realised I had to get out for the sake of my children – for the sake of my daughter and my baby. Yeah.”

When she was asked if she thought she’d made a mistake, she added: “In a way, yes, but I don’t regret it because it’s changed me as a person.

“It’s made me stronger, tougher. I married my husband. I wouldn’t have found someone like him back in the UK.”

5. When speaking of having no regrets, Ms Begum spoke of how she’d had a good experience, “I had my kids. I did have a good time there, it’s just that at the end things got harder and I couldn’t take it anymore.”

When asked what it was like living with and under Islamic State, Ms Begum said: “At first it was nice, it was like how they showed it in the videos, like ‘come, make a family together.’”

“Then afterwards, things got harder, you know. When we lost Raqqa we had to keep moving and moving and moving. The situation got difficult.”

6. BBC reporter Quentin Somerville said: “Here’s your opportunity then to apologize to some of the people who were murdered by the group that you joined. Some of the kids from Manchester who were killed in the Manchester arena.”

The 19-year-old replied: “I was shocked but…

“I do feel that is wrong that innocent people did get killed. It’s one thing to kill a soldier, it’s fine, it’s self-defense.

“But to kill people like women and children just like the women and children in Baghuz who are being killed right now unjustly by the bombings – it’s a two-way thing really because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now.

It’s kind of retaliation. Their justification was that it [the bombing in Manchester] was retaliation so I thought, okay, that is a fair justification.”

7. Beheading videos and the “good life they can provide you” are what attracted her to Islamic State.

When asked by a BBC reporter if it was the beheading videos that attracted her to join the Islamic State, Ms Begum said: “Not just the beheading videos, you know the videos they show of families and stuff in the park, the good life they can provide you.

“Not just the fighting videos, but the fighting videos as well.”

Yes,  I knew you would agree. Shamima Begum’s statements are unbelievable. Islam can do that.

First published in Jihad Watch here, here and here


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