Shamima Begum says she joined IS so she wouldn't be 'the friend left behind'

5 June 2021, 13:10

Shamima Begum said she joined IS so she wouldn't be "left behind"
Shamima Begum said she joined IS so she wouldn't be "left behind". Picture: ITV News

By Asher McShane

Shamima Begum has said she left the UK to join IS because she "didn't want to be the friend that was left behind," in an interview for a documentary.

Ms Begum, who is currently being held at the al-Roj camp in northern Syria being stripped of her British citizenship, made the comments for a new documentary, The Return: Life After ISIS.

The feature-length documentary explores the plight of several women who are stuck in the camp. 

In the documentary, Ms Begum describes herself as the “black sheep” of her family, saying she turned to Islam to be “part of something”. 

“It was the holidays when I decided to leave with my friends,” she said.

“I knew it was a big decision, but I just felt compelled to do it quickly. I didn't want to be the friend that was left behind.

”She added: “My mum didn’t see me walking outside of the door. I didn’t hug her, I really regret not hugging her.”

In the film she says losing three children left her feeling suicidal because of the grief.

Spanish director Alba Sotorra said Ms Begum was totally broken and in need of help. He told the Times: "Shamima was like a ghost just sitting there, covered, lifeless, like a marionette, a doll."

Begum was 15 when she ran away with two other schoolgirls to Syria to marry a Dutch jihadi in 2015.

The UK Supreme Court ruled in February that she cannot return to the UK to pursue an appeal against the removal of her British citizenship.