Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Shamima Begum says she wants to be 'as British as possible' in new plea to return to UK
26 July 2022, 09:54 | Updated: 26 July 2022, 11:13
Shamima Begum has claimed she wants to be "as British as possible" and be a "voice against radicalisation" as she made a fresh plea to return to the UK.
Listen to this article
The runaway Brit, who left to join Isis as a teenager, has been unable to return to the UK and remains in the al-Roj camp in Syria.
Ms Begum, who fled the country to join the terror group in Syria aged 15, has claimed she wants to become a “voice against radicalisation” should she be allowed to return home.
In the new interview, shared with i by filmmakers Andrew Drury and Richard Ashmore, Ms Begum said she now wants to “be used as an example” to stop other Brits turning to extremism.
"I want to be as British as possible," the 22-year-old insisted.
“The problem is at the age of being a teenager you’re very arrogant and you don’t listen to people so sometimes you really do have to learn the hard way.
“I could be used as an example, like you don’t want to end up like her.
“If it stops children making the same mistake that I made of course use me as an example.
“Tell the kids ‘don’t be like her, don’t become like her’.”
Despite the plea, the Bethnal Green runaway admitted that she is prepared and expects to spend the rest of her life in Syria.
She has been imprisoned in the al-Roj camp since 2019 when coalition forces defeated Isis in Baghuz and her UK citizenship was revoked by former Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
She is accused of trying to manipulate the press and UK Government with her pleas to return to her home country, and is said to have been an active participant in the barbarous Islamic State.
She faces a trial by the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces.
Ms Begum lives in the so-called “deradicalised” side of the camp alongside other female prisoners and their children.
She has reportedly ditched traditional Islamic garb and wanders its dusty streets wearing a t-shirt, leggings and large sunglasses.
On a recent visit she requested piles of clothes from Primark and for two books to be flown in from Britain.
Ms Begum, who was controversially stripped of her British citizenship and tried in vain to get back to the UK, has previously insisted she did not understand what Isis really was.
She fled the UK as a 15-year-old schoolgirl and managed to join the group in Syria, as its fighters committed atrocities throughout that country and Iraq.
She claimed she was groomed online before travelling to the Middle East.
She had married a Dutch national while out there and had children.
A Home Office spokesperson told the i: “Those who remain in the conflict zone include some of the most dangerous, choosing to stay to fight or otherwise support Daesh [Isis].
“Many of these individuals represent a serious and credible threat to our national security and the direct threat they pose would be significantly higher should they return to the UK.”