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Judgment can't be taken based purely on empathy: UK home secretary on return of teen who married IS terrorist in Syria

Shamima Begum. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 18, 2019, 05.22 PM (IST)

A British teenager, Shamima Begum, who left the United Kingdom to join terror outfit Islamic State in 2015 is now hoping to return home. Begum makes it clear that she does not regret her decision of joining the terror group.

Begum was only 15 when she went to Syria to marry an IS terrorist. Now, at 19, Shamima has given birth to a boy in a camp for the displaced in northern Syria. She says that her newborn son is the reason she wants to return home.

"We, the family of Shamima Begum, have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child," a statement released by Begum's family lawyer Mohammed Akunjee read. 

"As yet we have not had direct contact with Shamima, we are hoping to establish communications with her soon so that we can verify the above." 

Begum says she wants to return home to give a better life to her son, however, she maintains having no regrets over the choices she made in life.  

Begum gave birth to a girl and a boy during her time with the IS, both of them fell ill and died. She has now appealed to the UK government to help her get back. 

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Shamima's pleas to return to the UK have spurred debate all across, many believe that the right thing to do will be to make her face the UK justice system first before letting her in.

Shamima was one of the three British schoolgirls who joined the IS in 2015. According to reports in British media, Shamima says she is ready to face prison if she is allowed to return to the UK. Reportedly, she has not been in contact with her family. 

The UK government is yet to take a definite stand on Begum's pleas, however, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has clearly stated that he will come down heavily on the return of Britons who joined IS and now seek to return.

In a piece published in a leading British newspaper, Javid noted that his priority as the home secretary is to ensure the safety and security of his country and to send a message to those who back terrorism. 

Javid insisted the government should strip "dangerous individuals of their British citizenship".

"My priority is the safety and security of this country. These are not judgments to be taken based purely on empathy," Javid tweeted out on Sunday. 

US President Donald Trump said late Saturday that the United States was asking Britain and other European allies "to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial."

The demand came as he prepared to declare the end of the group's so-called "caliphate", with US-led Arab and Kurdish forces close to capturing its last territorial holdout in Syria, ahead of a pull-out of American troops, AFP reported.

(With inputs from AFP)

 

Story highlights

Begum was only 15 when she went to Syria to marry an IS terrorist. Now, at 19, Shamima has given birth to a boy in a camp for the displaced in northern Syria. She says that her newborn son is the reason she wants to return to the UK.