Who Is Shamima Begum? A Former Brit and Jihadi Bride Faces Execution Threat in Syria

The 22-year-old fled Britain in 2015 to join ISIS along with two of her school friends

ISIS bride Shamima Begum fears execution after officials ordered a probe into her links with the terrorist organization. The 22-year-old was stripped from her British citizenship in 2019 and is currently living in a refugee camp in Syria's Rojava, a self-governed region.

Begum is desperate to return to Britain because she has little faith in the justice system of northern Syria. Maintaining her innocence, the jihadi bride argues that she had been 'brainwashed' and sex-trafficked by the terrorist organization.

Allegations against her claim that she was not only a member of the Al-Khansa female 'morality police' but also assisted in making suicide bomber vests for IS fighters.

Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum Twitter

Begum joined ISIS in 2015 and fled Britain at 15 years of age. She and two of her school friends from east London, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana were 'inspired' by another teen who became a member of ISIS in December 2014.

"When people are that age, they try to discover themselves in different ways and some people discover themselves through religion and that's what happened to us – but then we went too deep into it," the 22-year-old told the Daily Mail.

The former extremist asserts that she was trafficked as a bride in Raqqa, the capital of ISIS. Married to a Dutch-born convert to Islam Yago Riedijk who was a convicted terrorist, Begum gave birth to three children, all of whom died of malnutrition. She came into the limelight after a 2019 interview, where she was heavily criticized for her comments on Manchester Arena bombing in 2017.

She said the attack was 'justified' because airstrikes against ISIS have killed civilians in Syria too, further adding that she was 'unfazed' by the violence surrounding her and does not regret joining the terror group, The Independent reported.

Shamima Begum
Twitter

In February 2019, the British government served notice that it intends to strip Begum of her citizenship. Since her parents were from Bangladesh she would not be left stateless. The Government of Bangladesh however, mentioned that she currently does not hold the Bangladeshi citizenship and denied her entry in the country.

Distancing herself from ISIS and its activities, Begum appealed against the Home Office's decision in UK but the bid was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2021.

The 22-year-old appears to be getting legal advice from her family back in London but it is still not certain if a UK-based lawyer will be allowed to represent her in Rojava's court. As per the Sun, her trial date is not released yet but sources revealed that it might be around September or October.

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