Shamima Begum says she was 'brainwashed' and regrets everything she did in Syria
Jihadi bride Begum has said she wants a 'second chance to start life over again' after losing three children prematurely in Syria.
Jihadi bride Shamima Begum is now begging for a second chance to be in the UK, saying she regrets everything she did in Syria.
Begum admitted she was "brainwashed" after traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State from Bethnal Green, east London, in February 2015, Daily Mail reports.
Speaking out for the first time after the death of her baby Jerrah, the 19-year-old told The Times: "Since I left Baghuz I really regretted everything I did, and I feel like I want to go back to the UK for a second chance to start my life over again," she told the newspaper. "I was brainwashed. I came here believing everything that I had been told, while knowing little about the truths of my religion."
According to the ISIS sympathizer, she was previously worried Islamist fanatics would burn her tent down, which in turn influenced her earlier comments to reporters. Islamist hardliners have repeatedly scorned her for not conforming with Sharia law. "Now a lot of women hate me, I’m afraid of a lot of people," she said. She also revealed how Scottish ISIS member Aqsa Mahmoud had heavily influenced her online.
Now, Begum has said she regrets talking to journalists about her situation after becoming desperate to return home to the UK because of her child. "The responsibility that I had now, towards him, to get me back to the UK - I was just really desperate, and I just blurted out everything," she said. "I tried to answer every question really quickly, I did it out of desperation, maybe not all my answers were clear."
The 19-year-old said she regularly reads verses from the Quran at the unmarked grave of her son near the al-Roj refugee camp. While visiting the grave, the Londoner needs guards to accompany her as she fears for her life. Following the death of the teenager's newborn son last month, a lawyer representing the family wrote to the Home Secretary urging him to reverse the ban on her returning back to the UK.
Begum defended herself saying it was "easy to manipulate" her when she was radicalized online as she was feeling "slightly depressed" and "looking for a purpose" owing to a disconnect with her family. She now says that other women in the camp are helping her understand some of the "really bad things" the terror outfit was up to.
In Begum's earlier interview to Sky News she had mentioned how she did not have any regrets until it became a matter of safety for her children. She even admitted to being okay with the brutal executions conducted by the ISIS. "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," she had said.
Begum's plea to be allowed to back to the UK comes shortly after her "heartbroken" husband, Dutch ISIS militant Yago Riedijik, 27, called Begum the "perfect wife." He is currently facing six years in prison if he returns home and is temporarily being held in a Kurdish detention center in north-eastern Syria. "We got very close very quickly," Riedijik said. "The perfect wife. She was so young and innocent. It was very easy for me to love her."
The 27-year-old terrorist defended his decision to marry Begum just 10 days after meeting her in IS territory when she was just 15. Denying claims Begum played a deeper role in the organization, he said she was "just a housewife." He was arrested and jailed by ISIS for seven months shortly after their wedding.
Begum said she began to lose her faith in the Islamic Caliphate the day her husband was jailed on spying charges and was brutally tortured during interrogations. Meanwhile, Riedjik claimed during his interview he and his wife were "naive victims" of ISIS and called for authorities to forgive them both.