Shamima Begum says she understands public anger but ‘not a bad person’

Shamima Begum said she understood the public’s anger towards her, but insisted in a series of BBC interviews that she was not “a bad person”.

Ms. Begum told The Shamima Begum Story podcast that she admitted she was seen as a “danger, risk” but blamed her media portrayal.

“I am much more than Isis (another term for the so-called Islamic State) and much more than anything I have ever experienced.”

Begum was 15 years old when she traveled with two other female students from Bethnal Green, east London, to ISIS-controlled territory via Turkey in 2015.

The 23-year-old is now locked in a legal battle with the UK Government to have his citizenship restored.

It was canceled on national security grounds shortly after she was found nine months pregnant in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Ms. Begum’s lawyers said she should be treated as a victim of child trafficking, and conflict resolution experts described the Government’s approach to her as wrong.

However, the Interior Ministry argued that people who were smuggled into Syria and brainwashed could still pose a threat to national security, and that Begum had no regrets when she first left the ISIS-controlled area.

When asked if he understood the public’s anger towards him, he replied, “Yes, I do.”

“But I don’t think it’s actually against me. I think it’s towards ISIS. When they think of ISIS, they think of me because I’ve been in the media a lot.”

Detailing her first trip to Syria, Begum said she and her companions tried to pack their belongings lightly, but mentioned that they were expected to marry ISIS fighters.

“People used to say, ‘Gather nice clothes for your husband so you can dress nice,’ but I don’t know,” she told the broadcaster.

Ms. Begum said she stocked up on chocolate bars she knew she couldn’t buy in Syria.

“You can find a lot in this country, but you can’t find mint chocolate,” he said.

Former children’s minister Tim Loughton said public sympathy gave way to anger when Begum first disappeared.

He said many people suspect he was “acting” by “transitioning from a heavily veiled Muslim young woman to one wearing Western clothing”, as if he had “stayed in East London as a normal British teenager”. .

Mr. Loughton added: “Obviously most people will say we owe him nothing. He got himself into this mess and frankly, it’s up to him to figure out how to get out of it.”

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