The family of a pregnant London schoolgirl who left the UK to join the so-called Islamic State have made a plea for her to be allowed to return home.
Nineteen year old Shamima Begum was tracked down by The Times. She revealed that she is heavily pregnant, the bride of an ISIS fighter, and wants to return home to have her baby in the UK.
‘Not a threat’
Begum fled to Turkey before entering Syria at the age of 15, with two fellow schoolgirls, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase. Each of the girls then married an ISIS foreign fighter, The Times claims.
Relatives of the now pregnant Begum have spoken out after she made a plea to come back to the UK. Abase’s father called on the government to allow the women to come home, claiming they represent “no threat”.
He told the Evening Standard that both Begum and his daughter should be allowed to return, stating, “I have no doubt the Government should let them back in and teach them, so they learn from their mistakes. She is not a threat.
“She was a teenager when she left and I did bad things, too, when I was young. I have had no contact with her at all, the last years have been very hard.
“I have no idea if she will come back. I hope, but it’s not in my control. I leave everything to Allah.”
Lives won’t be risked
Commenting on the case of Begum, Security Minister Ben Wallace insisted the lives of British officials would not be risked in order to rescue her.
“I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go and look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state – there’s consular services elsewhere in the region and the strong message this Government has given for many years is that actions have consequences,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Times war correspondent, Anthony Loyd – who found Begum in a refugee camp in northern Syria – said of the 19 year old, “She is the 15 year old schoolgirl who was groomed and lured to the caliphate, and four years later, with that background, she is an indoctrinated jihadi bride.
“She didn’t express regret, she said she had no regrets, she was calm and composed but she was also in a state of shock – she had just come out of a battlefield, nine months pregnant, many of her friends dead and she’s gone through air strikes and all the rest of it – so I wouldn’t rush to judge her too harshly.”