Jihad bride Shamima Begum's British citizenship revoked, family to challenge decision

Shamima Begum left the UK along with two school friends, when she was 15-years-old in 2014, and came into the spotlight last week when she pleaded to come back to her home country


                            Jihad bride Shamima Begum's British citizenship revoked, family to challenge decision

Shamima Begum, a British teenager who left her home in east London in December 2014 to join Islamic State will have her citizenship revoked, her family was told by the U.K. Home Office. Her family responded to the decision by citing their disappointment with the government, while home secretary, Sajid Javid, was clear about his intention of revoking her citizenship.

19-year-old Begum is currently in a refugee camp in Syria and gave birth to a boy this weekend. She had earlier called on the British people to have sympathy for her and asked to be allowed to return to the U.K. Home secretary, Javid, responded by insisting he would do all in his power to prevent her coming back.

Renu Begum, eldest sister of Shamima Begum, holds her sister's photo as she is interviewed by the media at New Scotland Yard (Getty Images)
Renu Begum, eldest sister of Shamima Begum, holds her sister's photo as she is interviewed by the media at New Scotland Yard (Getty Images)

Tasnime Akunjee, the family’s lawyer, said Begum’s relatives were "very disappointed with the Home Office’s intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship." He said they were "considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision."

According to ITV News, Begum's mother received a letter notifying her of the Home Office’s intention Tuesday. "Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the home secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship," the letter read.

"In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the home secretary’s decision has been served of file today (19 February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made." ITV News stated the letter urged Begum’s family to make her aware of the decision, saying she had a right to appeal.

Begum left the U.K. along with two school friends, when she was 15-years-old. Her case came to light last week when she declared her wish to return for the sake of her newly born child. She made the plea in an interview with the Times, conducted in a Syrian refugee camp. "I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago. And I don’t regret coming here," the heavily pregnant Begum told the paper last Wednesday.

Sitting with her newborn baby during an interview the following Sunday, she said: "I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through. You know, I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left."



She told Sky News; "I was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they let me come back. Because I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible." Javid made it clear that her return would not be possible. Writing in the Sunday Times, he said "there will be consequences for those who traveled to Syria to support groups such as Isis."

Javid made it clear that her return would not be possible. Writing in the Sunday Times, he said "there will be consequences" for those who traveled to Syria to support terror groups such like ISIS.

"Certainly, anyone that went to support terrorism in any way whatsoever, we are not going to risk the lives of any British officials – soldiers or anyone – to help them or rescue them," he added Monday, according to the Guardian. Javid, noting he only has powers to use temporary exclusion orders to bar returning jihadists for up to two years, acknowledged it is not within his powers to render a person stateless. The U.K. "must, of course, observe international law" and people, who do return to the UK, "will be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted."