Shamima Begum's mother Asma says her 'world fell apart' when she ran away to join ISIS

24 November 2022, 11:22

Shamima Begun who is battling to have her British citizenship restored
Shamima Begun who is battling to have her British citizenship restored. Picture: Alamy

By Stephen Rigley

The mother of ISIS bride Shamima Begum has said her world "fell apart" when her daughter ran away to Syria.

Asma Begum said her daughter's bedroom in the family home has not been touched since she travelled to Syria in 2015.

Mrs Begum has never spoken publicly about the then 15-year old's decision to travel to Syria, where she married an IS recruit and had three children, all of whom later died.

In a statement read at an appeal hearing against the government's decision to strip Begum, now 23, of her British citizenship, she said:"My youngest daughter is even more present in my mind, the one I think about almost every hour of every day.

"When she left home in 2015, our worlds fell apart. Her drawers are still full, her perfume, pens and jewellery, her clothes are still there. Her pyjamas are folded neatly.

"Her school blazer is still hanging on the door in the front room, just as it was when she left."

She added: "On the last birthday she spent with us before she left, she did not want a cake but wanted a pizza with candles on it instead.

"She was so happy that day. On each of her birthdays since she left we order pizza and still celebrate her birthdays.

"It was always sad but we look forward to the birthday party we will have when she is back."

Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum. Picture: Alamy
Begum (centre) was one of three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who ran away to join ISIS
Begum (centre) was one of three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who ran away to join ISIS. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Shamima Begum ‘trafficked for sexual exploitation’ by Isis, say her lawyers

Read More: Ex-Irish soldier who fled to Syria jailed for 15 months for ISIS membership

Begum lived with her mother and three sisters after her father moved to Bangladesh with his second wife.

Mrs Begum said she had kept all her youngest daughter's belongings undisturbed for more than seven years.

She told the court: "Shamima and I shared a bedroom and I have not moved anything of hers from our room.

"Her drawers are still full, her perfume, pens and jewellery, her clothes are still there. Her pyjamas are folded neatly.

"The box with her school books I look at sometimes. Her school blazer is still hanging on the door in the front room, just as it was when she left."

Begum's lawyers claim she was groomed online by an IS 'propaganda machine' and trafficked into Syria.

Once under IS control she was married within days to an adult male recruit, sexually exploited and subjected to coercive control, her legal team said.

Former home secretary Sajid Javid's decision to revoke her British citizenship left her "effectively an exile for life", her lawyers argued, and she remains detained in a camp in Syria.

Lawyers for the Home Secretary argue Miss Begum is in Syria "as a result of her own choice to leave the UK" and that she could still pose a threat.

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