The father of one of the ‘Bethnal Green three’ says Britain has a duty to welcome Shamima Begum back and told MailOnline today: ‘She should be allowed to come home and have her baby in peace’.
Abase Hussen, whose daughter Amira is thought to be alive and still alongside ISIS in Syria, said the schoolgirls are victims who should be brought back to the UK and ‘helped, not punished’.
Miss Begum is heavily pregnant with her third child and living in a Syrian refugee camp. She says Amira is alive but Kadiza Sultana, the third girl who fled the UK with them, died in an air strike two years ago.
Mr Hussen, 52, who once was filmed at a London flag-burning rally also attended by Anjem Choudary, said the three young jihadi brides had ‘just made a mistake’.
‘These girls were young,’ he told MailOnline. ‘They were manipulated by evil people and they should be brought home and helped. Not punished. They pose no threat.
Abase Hussen, 52, the father of Amira Abase, (left today) welcomed news that his daughter and her friend Shamima Begum (right) are alive ans said that they should come back to Britain if then can
Mr Hussen (circled) attended a heat preacher’s rally alongside one of Lee Rigby’s killers – and took his daughter – yet said he moved to Britain in 1999 for freedom and democracy
Timeline of the London girls’ journey into ISIS’ heart of terror – but now one wants to come home
Sharmeema Begum – the first Bethnal Green girl to flee to Syria before her three younger friends followed
– December – Counter terrorism police question Shamima Begum, Kadiz Sultana and Amira Abase after their friend Sharmeema Begum goes to Syria.
– February 17 – Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase leave their east London homes at 8am to travel to Istanbul in Turkey from Gatwick Airport. Begum and Abase – who has not yet been publicly named – are reported missing by their families later the same day.
– February 18 – Sultana is reported missing to the police.
– February 20 – The Metropolitan Police launch a public appeal for information on the missing girls who are feared to have gone on to Syria.
– February 21 – Four days after the girls went missing, police believe they may still be in Turkey.
It is revealed that at least one of the missing girls had Twitter contact with Aqsa Mahmood, who left her Glasgow home in November 2013 and travelled to Syria after becoming radicalised.
– February 22 – Abase’s father Abase Hussen says his daughter told him she was going to a wedding on the day she disappeared. Metropolitan Police officers arrive in Turkey, but refuse to confirm whether they are involved in the search for the teenagers.
– August 2016 – Sultana, 17, is reportedly killed in Raqqa when a suspected Russian air strike obliterates her house.
– February 14 – Begum, 19, tells Anthony Loyd of The Times that she wants to return to the UK to give birth to her third child. Speaking from a refugee camp in Syria, she adds she does not regret joining IS and that she believes, contrary to reports in 2018, that her other companion Abase is still alive in Baghuz.
‘The British government have not done anything to help me or the other parents. We have been badly treated. Shamima should be allowed to come home and have her baby in peace.
‘I’m just waiting for the time when I can see my daughter. Ever since she left I have had hope. Tomorrow is another day. You never know what will happen tomorrow. The last time I spoke to her was a very, very long time ago.’
When asked if he thinks the girls should be able to return to Britain to restart their lives, he said: ‘As a parent there is no question. To have your children around you… there is no question. That would make me happy. It gives me some hope as well.’
He added: ‘It was just a mistake that the girls left their families to go to a place like that.
‘What I would say to her, if she reads this, is just come back, please. Come home to us. That’s all I can say’.
Mr Hussen, who has two other grown up children said he and his wife had lost contact with Amira last year.
‘The last conversation we had with my daughter was over a year ago when she called out of the blue,’ he said.
‘I was full of so much sorrow that I couldn’t speak with her properly. My heart is filled with grief.
‘I have two other teenage children and I constantly worry about what they are getting up to and that they might also be radicalised. I’m a humble man, I fear God and don’t deserve this.’
Mr Hussen, a security guard, said the families of the three children had been in close contact when they went missing in 2015, but had gradually lost touch.
‘There’s been no co-ordination in helping our children to return,’ he said. ‘Nothing is being done for us.
‘The intelligence services visited a few times but we’ve had no help from the government’.
Mr Hussen, who has been in the UK since 1999, originates from Ethiopia, where Amira was born.
He blamed police for failing to stop his daughter fleeing to join ISIS.
But months after she vanished it emerged that he took her to an extremist rally when she was just 13.
He conceded the teenager was ‘maybe’ influenced by the rally organised by banned terror group Al-Muhajiroun.
A second revelation followed as shocking footage emerged of him amid a flag-burning mob, screaming in rage at a protest outside the US embassy in London, in 2012.
Also at the rally were hate cleric Anjem Choudary and Michael Adebowale, one of the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby.
He later apologised for attending, but admitted going to two further rallies – with his impressionable daughter in tow.
One took place outside the Saudi embassy in London, in 2013, and is said to have been organised by the Islamic extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, founded by hate cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed and linked to many Islamic terror atrocities of the past decade.
The rally was held against the treatment of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia after human rights violations, and Mr Hussen, 47, who is from Ethiopia, said: ‘We both lost many people back home, we wanted to try to get help for people back home, too many human rights violations there. Many died. Maybe it influenced her.’
Bethnal Green runaway Amira Abase (left in September) used a pictured of a woman in a full veil clutching a knife on her Twitter page, which has been shut down
Mr Abase, 53, says the families of the ‘Bethnal Green three’ have been badly treated
Ms Begum, now 19, was tracked down by The Times to a refugee camp in northern Syria where she is the bride of an Islamic State fighter, nine months pregnant and has had two infant children who are dead. Her husband is in captivity.
Stating that ‘I don’t regret coming here,’ she told The Times: ‘I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago.’
She also told the paper: ‘The caliphate is over. There was so much oppression and corruption that I don’t think they deserved victory.
‘I know what everyone at home thinks of me as I have read all that was written about me online. But I just want to come home to have my child. That’s all I want right now. I’ll do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child.’
Ms Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, who all attended Bethnal Green Academy, left their homes in February 2015 to join a fourth Bethnal Green schoolgirl in Syria who had left London they year before. They each married an Isis foreign fighter, according to The Times.
Ms Sultana was reported to have been killed in an airstrike on Raqqa in May 2016, while Ms Begum has recently heard second-hand from other people that Miss Abase, and the other schoolgirl who left Britain in 2014, may still be alive.
When she arrived, Ms Begum was put in a house where jihadist brides-to-be waited to be married, she said.
Ten days after arriving in Raqqa in 2015, she wed a Dutchman who had converted to Islam. She claims her husband was later arrested, charged with spying and tortured.
Kadiza Sultana, then 16, Amira Abase, then 15, in images released by police in 2015 after they ran off to Syria. Miss Sultana was killed in an air strike
She left Raqqa in January 2017 with her husband but her children, a girl aged 21 months and a three-month-old boy, both died in recent months. Her son had an unknown illness worsened by malnutrition, The Times said.
Ms Begum said she had a ‘mostly’ a ‘normal life in Raqqa, interrupted every now and then by ‘bombing and stuff’.
She told the paper: ‘But when I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all. It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam.
‘I thought only of what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance.’