The Daily Telegraph

Begum: ‘I could help you in fight against terror’

The Islamic State bride says she wants the British public to see her as an ‘asset rather than a threat’

- By Charles Hymas HOME AFFAIRS EDITOR

ISLAMIC STATE bride Shamima Begum claimed she could be an “asset” to Britain in the fight against terror, and that her only crime was being “dumb”.

Begum, who fled her east London home for Syria as a 15-year-old schoolgirl more than six years ago, begged the British public for forgivenes­s, as she said she wanted to be brought back to the UK to face charges and prove her innocence in court.

She said she had no idea Islamic State (IS) was a death cult when she joined, adding: “The only crime I committed was being dumb enough to join IS.”

In a plea to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, she said: “I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing.” She added: “I want them [the British public] to see me as an asset rather than a threat to them.”

The 22-year-old, who had her British citizenshi­p revoked over security concerns, appeared on ITV’S Good Morning Britain from the camp in Syria where she is being detained.

Sajid Javid, who as home secretary took the decision to revoke Begum’s citizenshi­p, hit back at her claims that she played no part in IS terrorism, hinting at evidence in intelligen­ce reports that made her a threat to national security.

“I won’t go into details of the case, but what I will say is that you certainly haven’t seen what I saw,” said Mr Javid, who is now Health Secretary.

“If you did know what I knew, because you are sensible, responsibl­e people, you would have made exactly the same decision – of that I have no doubt.”

Begum’s lawyers are appealing against the revocation of her citizenshi­p through the special immigratio­n appeals commission, with a full hearing scheduled for November next year.

In February, the Supreme Court ruled that the Government was entitled to prevent Begum from returning to the UK to challenge the citizenshi­p decision in person because she posed a threat to national security.

Spy agencies are said to have presented evidence that she was a member of the terror group’s feared “morality police”, and was even seen stitching suicide bombers into explosive vests and carrying a Kalashniko­v assault rifle.

However, Begum said yesterday: “I am willing to go to court and face the people who made these claims and refute these claims, because I know I did nothing in IS but be a mother and a wife.”

Begum said she was a victim of grooming by extremists, and that she was wrong to say the Manchester Arena attack was “justified” because of air strikes that have killed civilians in Syria.

The Government yesterday came under backbench pressure to follow the example of the US and EU nations and repatriate IS brides and their families in order to potentiall­y prosecute them.

 ??  ?? Shamima Begum left her home in London six years ago for Syria aged 15. She claims that she was a victim of grooming by extremists
Shamima Begum left her home in London six years ago for Syria aged 15. She claims that she was a victim of grooming by extremists

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