Shamima Begum’s family have called for the government to urgently bring her back
The family of an East London schoolgirl who ran away to become an Islamic State jihadi bride have called for the government to bring her back ‘urgently’.
The parents of Shamima Begum, who fled for Syria in 2015, said the 19-year-old’s unborn baby is ‘totally innocent’ and had the right to grow up in the ‘peace and security’ of the UK.
Ms Begum was one of three Bethnal Green Academy schoolgirls who joined the terrorist group.
The development comes hours after a British former Guantanamo Bay prisoner called for Begum to be allowed to return because she is heavily pregnant and not a ‘threat’.
The 19-year-old girl fled east London to join ISIS four years ago but the terror group has been reduced to a tiny patch of land and Ms Begum is now in a refugee camp in Syria.
Her family have appealed for Ms Begum to be shown mercy but the Government has indicated it will not allow her to return.
On Good Morning Britain former U.S. prisoner Moazzam Begg came to her defence, as debate rages over her future.
A British former Guantanamo Bay prisoner has called for ISIS schoolgirl Shamima Begum (pictured right, left at Gatwick Airport) to be allowed to return to Britain
Mr Begg, who was held from 2002 to 2005, said: ‘I was held with young teenagers from the age of 14 to 15, some were terribly wounded, some were Western citizens.
‘They ended up there because of decisions by their parents and so forth and ended up in prison.
‘We keep saying she’s unrepentant, but how has that been interrogated by a short interview by the Times?
‘I think we cherry pick what’s been said – she also says that the Islamic State didn’t deserve victory because of its abuses.
‘The issue here in relation to this young girl is will she be a threat? Well she’s heavily pregnant at the moment. By the time she comes back, if she comes back, she’ll be giving birth.’
Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist captured by the Taliban in 2001 who later converted to Islam, also came to the schoolgirl’s defence.
She said: ‘We’re talking about a child who was groomed, that’s essentially what happened. She’s saying that she doesn’t have any regrets but you have to remember she’s in a refugee camp now with 39,000 other people.
‘Goodness knows how many eyes are on her and she’s been brutalised by war. We don’t know what she’s gone through, we don’t know if she feels fearful or she’s under threat.
Moazzam Begg, pictured left on Good Morning Britain with Macer Gifford, said the teenager would not be a ‘threat’ if she returned as she was about to give birth
‘We also have to recognise that she could really help the intelligence services and help us all understand what were the triggers that made her go.
‘If she’s been radicalised, she can be de-radicalised. It’s something that we should consider. She is a British citizen, she’s our problem – we’ve got an excellent legal system in this country.
‘What signal are we sending to the world that we’re just using the world as a dumping ground for our problems? Britain has to take ownership of this problem.’
Speaking on This Morning, former glamour model Kimberley Miners – who was brainwashed by an ISIS recruiter – said Ms Begum should be allowed back as long as she showed remorse.
‘She’s still very young,’ she said.
Former glamour model Kimberley Miners (pictured) – who was brainwashed by an ISIS recruiter – said Ms Begum should be allowed back as long as she showed remorse
Renu Begum, eldest sister of Shamima Begum, holds her sister’s photo in a picture from 2015, as the family appeal for the teenager to be allowed to return home
‘I was an adult when I was groomed, it took me a good two years to realise what was going on and how I’d been brainwashed.
‘I was close to going (to Syria). They know the right words to say. When you’re in that situation you don’t know what you’re doing. I still don’t quite understand what happened.
‘The baby shouldn’t be punished.’
However Macer Gifford, who travelled to Syria to fight with the Kurdish forces against ISIS, showed no sympathy.
He said: ‘As I was motivated to go out and fight ISIS, she was motivated by them. She wanted to go out and support ISIS. She saw all the same things that we did.
‘She was part of the ISIS machine that persecuted Christians and Yazidis. She has no remorse for her actions and there is no evidence whatsoever that she is any less dangerous.
‘I don’t like the idea that she’s somehow a victim. The real victims are the people that ISIS have butchered over the years.’