The "housewife" without a country?

At age 15, Shamima Begum left Britain to join the terrorist organization IS in Syria. She was one of several schoolgirls from London’s Bethnal Green neighborhood who went to marry IS fighters in 2015. The group’s online recruitment program lured many young people to its self-proclaimed caliphate. The extremist group is significantly weaker in the area now than it was at the time. Begum and many other British citizens who joined IS now want to return to Britain.

In an interview with Britain's Sky News, Begum claims she was just a "housewife" during her time with IS militants and had a "mostly normal life in Raqqa, every now and then bombing and stuff." Begum said, "I never did anything dangerous. I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria. So they'd only have proof I didn't do anything that is dangerous." She felt "OK with" beheadings carried out by Islamic State adherents because she had heard it was allowed under Islamic law. "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." Should Begum be allowed to return to Britain?

Begum is currently living in a Kurdish-controlled refugee camp to which she fled from the last pocket of Isil-controlled territory. Her Dutch-born husband, Yago Riedjik, has reportedly since surrendered to fighters allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces. Holland has already sentenced Riedjik in absentia to six years behind bars for fleeing his middle-class life to join the terror group. He may face other charges. Should Begum face charges in the UK?

She recently gave birth to her third child. Two of her children died in recent months. Her daughter was a year and nine months. Her three-month-old son died from an unknown illness worsened by malnutrition. Begum does not regret leaving Britain to aid IS. She says, "I wouldn't have found someone like my husband in the UK. I had my kids, I had a good time there." Begum says, "I can't live in this camp forever. It's not really possible. I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I've been through." Do you feel sympathy for Begum?

Begum said she wants the UK to "take me back and help me start a new life again and try and move on from everything that's happened in the last four years." Joana Cook, Teaching Fellow in the Department of War Studies and a Senior Research Fellow at King's College London, considers Ms Begum to be a potential security threat based on several factors: The physical security roles and related training that women have undertaken in IS-held territory along with the potential to transfer or apply these skills in other locations, or to pass these on to other people… including other women and their children. Do you believe Begum is a national security threat to the UK?

03/12/2019 News 2334 89 By: UpstateSC


Load more comments...
UpstateSC profile photo
By: UpstateSC