Shamima Begum, who was stripped of her British citizenship on Monday, pleaded to be allowed back to the UK but caused outrage by failing to apologise
The father of Shamima Begum has dramatically told The Mail on Sunday that he backs Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to strip his daughter of her British citizenship.
Speaking to the media for the first time, Ahmed Ali, 60, said: ‘I know they [the British Government] don’t want to take her back, and in this I don’t have a problem.
‘I know she is stuck there [in Syria] but that’s because she has done actions that made her get stuck like this.’
Mr Ali, whose comments are in stark contrast to the pleas of Begum’s British-based relatives who want her to be allowed to return to the UK, added: ‘I am on the side of the Government.
‘I can’t say whether it is right or wrong, but if the law of the land says that it is correct to cancel her citizenship, then I agree.’
The Mail on Sunday last week tracked down Mr Ali at his home in the Sunamganj region of north-east Bangladesh.
The retired tailor came to Britain in 1975 and married Begum’s mother, Asma, seven years later. They settled in Bethnal Green, East London, and had four daughters, but from the mid- 1990s he began dividing his time between Britain and Bangladesh, where he married a second wife.
Ahmed Ali, the father of Shamima Begum, outside his house in the village of Dairai, Sunam Gonj district, in the greater Sylhet region of Bangladesh. Mr Ali has said he backs Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to strip his daughter of her British citizenship
He last saw his youngest daughter on a visit to the UK two months before she fled to Syria with schoolfriends Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase in March 2015.
Mr Ali said he had been shocked by her lack of remorse about joining IS during a series of media interviews at a Syrian refugee camp last week.
Begum, who gave birth to a son, Jarrah, last Sunday, pleaded to be allowed back to the UK but caused outrage by failing to apologise for joining the terror group and arguing that the 2017 bombing of the Manchester Arena by an Islamic extremist was justified.
‘If she at least admitted she made a mistake then I would feel sorry for her and other people would feel sorry for her. But she does not accept her wrong,’ Mr Ali said.
He insisted she had shown no sign of being radicalised.
‘I never saw anything of concern in her at the time,’ he added. ‘She was as usual, normal. She never used to pray regularly, she was not that Islamic-minded.’
Mr Javid sparked controversy last week by stripping Begum, 19, of her British nationality on the grounds that she is eligible for citizenship of Bangladesh through her mother.
Begum’s relatives in Britain have warned the Home Secretary that they will challenge his decision in the courts and The Mail on Sunday has unearthed a case with striking similarities that may provide them with hope.
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The case involved another jihadi bride, identified only as ‘G3’, who fled to Syria to join IS with her two children, then aged one and two, in November 2016. She was arrested in Turkey as she tried to return to the UK.
As with Begum, the Home Office stripped the woman – of Bangladeshi heritage but born in Enfield, North London – of her British citizenship. However, her family won an appeal.
Last night an official for Kurdish forces holding the jihadi prisoners at Al-Hole insisted Begum should be repatriated, saying: ‘It is not just Britain but all the countries – we want them to take their prisoners.’
So Mr Javid, what will you do with all of these women once they decide to return?
Shamima Begum is one of more than 150 British women and girls who fled to Syria to join the barbaric Islamic State terror group.
The Mail on Sunday has identified 26 women who are still at large, and a further four who have returned home. Jihadi brides are more likely to come back to the UK than their husbands, many of whom died fighting.
As IS loses its last stronghold in Baghouz, there have been reports of an exodus of British jihadi brides and their children to Kurdish refugee camps in the north of Syria.
The Kurdish authorities have said as many as 12 British jihadi brides are living in Al-Hol, the camp where Begum was found.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has stripped Begum of her British citizenship. Attempts to do the same to other jihadi brides is likely to result in dozens of battles in the High Court over the next few years.