Jihadi bride Shamima Begum has given birth to a baby boy in Syria and claimed just hours later people should ‘have sympathy for her’ and she should be allowed to return to Britain.
The 19-year-old was found in a refugee camp in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria last week, heavily pregnant and desperate to come home, sparking a political row over whether she should be allowed to return to Britain.
Today she today appeared on Sky News next to a woman in a niqab holding the newborn child.
Speaking just hours after the birth of her son, Shamima said she was scared her baby would be taken away if she returned to Britain.
She spoke to a TV crew, with what appeared to be her newborn son being rocked by an older woman in a niqab.
Shamima said: ‘I didn’t know what I was getting into. I didn’t do anything dangerous. I was just a housewife for four years, looking after my husband and my kids.
‘I think a lot of people should have sympathy towards me for everything I’ve been through.
‘I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was hoping that for the sake of me and my child they would let me come back. I can’t live in this camp forever.’
Shamima Begum being interviewed on Sky News today just hours after giving birth to her son (thought to be being cradled by another woman, right)
An older woman holding what is believed to be the newborn baby boy as Shamima Begum talks to Sky News today, just hours after the birth
Shamima Begum, 19, is pleading with the government to allow her back into the country, with her family saying that they would raise her child
Her emergence sparked furious debate and legal wrangling over what the government can and can’t do to British citizens who fled to the war-torn country and now want to come back.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, who previously served as attorney general, said today that Britain was ‘obliged’ to take back British citizens.
But David Gauke conceded Shamima may be able to return to the UK because ‘we can’t make people stateless’.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, writing in the Sunday Times, said he would use all his powers to stop British citizens who joined ISIS from returning.
- Donald Trump said European countries should take back their own ISIS fighters
- Family of British ISIS bride, Sumaiyyah Wakil, also begged her to return to UK
- ISIS forces are being driven out of the territory militants previously controlled
- Just hours after the birth Shamima said she feared her son would be taken away
But Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer representing the families of the three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who travelled to Syria in 2015, said that Mr Javid may have conceded he is unable to stop her entering the UK.
He told MailOnline: ‘Sajid Javid has conceded he can’t stop her coming back. It looks like he reviewed his powers and discovered he doesn’t have any powers.’
The birth of Shamima’s baby boy comes as ISIS is being swept from the territory the militant group previously controlled.
Ms Begum’s family believe that they would be able to ‘fix’ her if she was allowed back into the UK
Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase at Gatwick Airport in February 2015
US-back Syrian forces have been clearing the remaining jihadi fighters from the villages of Baghouz and Shajalah.
Sumaiyyah Wakil became an ISIS bride aged 16 when she left her Hampshire home and travelled to Syria in August 2014.
She is thought to be in the besieged Baghouz as thousands of civilians have fled the fierce fighting.
Donald Trump also waded into the debate when he said European countries should take back their citizens caught fighting for ISIS and put them on trial.
He threatened to release some 800 fighters held by US-back Syrian forces into Europe if Turkey begins attacking Kurdish held areas of Syria.
Mr Akunjee said he found out about the birth of Shamima’s baby via a short phone call from another refugee in the camp and that both mother and baby are ‘both healthy’.
He told MailOnline: ‘They are both healthy, she gave birth sometime last night, but I don’t have any more information than that.’
Kadiza Sultana (left) and Amira Abase (right) from Bethnal Green in east London, travelled with Shamima Begum to Syria in 2015
Announcing the birth today, Mr Akunjee posted on Twitter that Shamima had given birth sometime last night.
He wrote: ‘We the family of Shamima Begum have been informed that Shamima has given birth to her child, we understand that both she and the baby are in good health.
‘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.
‘We understand that both she and the baby are in good health. 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.’
Shamima Begum: ‘I didn’t know what I was getting into’
Teenager Shamima Begum told Sky News just hours after giving birth that she believed people in Britian would ‘have sympathy’ for her as she didn’t know what life was like in Syria when she left in 2015.
What was it about ISIS that attracted you?
‘They showed how you can go, they’ll take care of you. You can have your own family. You can do anything. You are living under Islamic law.
‘During the time I left it was on the news, a lot of videos were coming out, I saw the videos on the internet and that was what attracted me.’
Did you know what ISIS were doing when you left for Syria? They had beheaded people?
I knew about those things. I was okay with it at first. I started becoming religious just before I left. From what I heard Islamically that is all allowed.
What are your feelings about the battle over your citizenship?
I think a lot of people should have sympathy towards me for everything I’ve been through. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I was hoping that for the sake of me and my child they would let me come back. I can’t live in this camp forever.
But they [the British government and security services] think you’re very dangerous.
‘They don’t have any evidence of me doing anything dangerous. I was just a housewife for four years. I just stayed at home looked after my husband, looked after my kids. I didn’t do anything dangerous.
‘I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria.
Your family have made an appeal – do you have a message for them?
‘No just keep trying to get me back. I don’t want to take care of my child in this camp. I’m afraid he might even die here.’
What would life back in the UK be like for you and your child?
‘I don’t know what it would be like. I know there would be a lot of restrictions on me. I don’t know if they’d take my child away. That’s one of my biggest priorities. I left because of him. I’m just trying to give him a better life.’
If authorities took your child away, would you accept it?
‘I don’t see any reason why they would take him away from me. It would be difficult to accept.
There are concerns because of what you’ve been through, and that you might hold extremist views on ISIS
‘That’s something they have to question me about before they take my child away.’
Can you be rehabilitated?
‘I’m still kind of in the mentality over having planes overhead, an emergency backpack. It would be a really big shock to go back to the UK.’
Do you know whether your friend Amira [Abase] is alive?
‘I haven’t heard from her in a long time.’
‘How did you feel when your other friend Kadiza [Sultana] died?’
‘It was a big shock. Because it was at the beginning. It was a year after we left.
‘Now if I heard Amira was dead I wouldn’t be shocked. I’d be hurt, because of the situation she’s still in.
‘But when Kadiza died the situation was still good in Raqqa. It came as a big shock.’
Did you make a mistake [travelling to Syria]?
‘In a way yes, but I don’t regret it because it’s changed me as a person. It’s made me stronger, tougher, I married my husband.
‘I wouldn’t have found someone like my husband in the UK. I had my kids, I had a good time there. But it was hard in the end, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to leave.
‘My husband doesn’t know about the baby. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know if they would let me contact him. I don’t know how to.
‘I don’t have my phone, I don’t have the internet. The last journalist who came contacted my family for me.’
He then followed up the statement with a tweet saying just, ‘It’s a boy’.
The teenager told Sky today: ‘I don’t know what I would be able to do [if i came back to the UK], there might be restrictions on what I could do and where I could go.
‘I don’t know if they will take my baby away or what will happen. That’s my main priority at the moment – my child.’
She said: When Kadiza [Sultana, a fellow schoolgirl who travelled to Syria] died the situation was normal in Raqqa. It came as a big shock.
When asked if she regretted travelling to Syria and joining the so-called caliphate, Shamima said she it made her stronger’.
A trail of destruction was left by the operation to expel ISIS jihadists from their last bastion, in Baghouz in the eastern Syrian province
Facebook picture of Dutch ISIS fighter Yago Riedijk (now aged 26 and detained in Syria) and husband of Shamima Begum, taken in 2011
Asked if she made a mistake, she added: ‘In a way yes, but I don’t regret it because its changed me as person. It’s made me stronger.
‘I wouldn’t have found someone like my husband in the UK. I had my kids, I had a good time there.
‘But it was hard in the end I couldn’t take it anymore. Husband doesn’t know about the baby. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know if they would let me contact him.
‘I don’t have my phone, I don’t have the internet.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg said on BBC Question Time that ‘we should have sympathy’ for Shamima.
Human rights group Cage urging the government to welcome Shamima back to the UK, adding she should not be punished.
Director Moazzam Begg said she must acknowledge how IS ‘deviated’ from the principles of Islam and ‘brought misery to the world’.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright told Andrew Marr: ‘I think it’s clear that if you’re dealing with a British citizen who wants to return to this country – and they’re not a dual citizen, so their only citizenship is British citizenship – then we are obliged at some stage at least to take them back.
‘That doesn’t mean that we can’t put in place the necessary security measures to monitor their activities and make sure that they are not misbehaving.
‘It doesn’t mean either that we can’t seek to hold them to account for their behaviour thus far.’
Woman and children who fled the ISIS group’s embattled holdout of Baghouz wait in the back of a truck in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor
A female fighter with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) aims her weapon during an operation to expel ISIS
He said the nationality of Shamima Begum’s baby was a ‘difficult question’, but added: ‘What really matters I think is to determine what should happen instantly and urgently to her because we do have to be concerned about the health of that baby, we have to be concerned about her health too.
‘But in the end she will have to answer for her actions. So I think it is right that if she’s able to come back to the UK that she does so but if she does so she will do it on the understanding that we can hold her to account for her behaviour thus far.’
The schoolgirl married Yago Riedijk, 26, a Dutch Muslim convert, and had two children who died as babies.
She had married him three weeks after she arrived in the country in 2015 aged 15.
Family of second ISIS bride begs her to return to Britain for safety of of her young daughter
Sumaiyyah Wakil became an ISIS bride aged 16 when she left her Hampshire home and travelled to Syria in August 2014.
The teenager left her family a handwritten letter begging them not to alert the police to her journey.
Now aged 21 and with a young child, her family are desperate for her to return to Britain for the safety of her daughter.
She told her family she travelled to the war-torn country to help those suffering during the fighting and expressed ‘anger’ about ‘the state of the Islamic community’.
Her brother, Salim Wakil, was jailed for 30 months at the Old Bailey earlier this month for funding terrorism.
She disappeared to Syria with two school friends, Amira Abase, whowas 15 vat the time, and Kadiza Sultana, 16.
While living in ISIS-controlled territory Ms Sultana was killed in an air strike in 2015, according to Ms Begum.
The family of Shamima asked the government to give them custody of her child if she is allowed to return to the country and given a prison sentence to avoid being a burden on the taxpayer.
Ms Begum failed to show remorse for fleeing Britain in 2015 and joining ISIS when she was interview by the Times in the refugee camp last week.
Shamima Begum has begged to be allowed to come back to the UK to have her baby
While there, she married Dutch Muslim convert Yago Riedijk and bore him two children who both died as babies.
Her brother-in-law, Muhammed Rahman, 36, whose twin brother is married to Renu Begum, Shamima’s older sister, said today when asked about the birth: ‘I don’t know. I have no idea.’
He told the Sunday Telegraph in an earlier interview that it was ‘in their culture’ to look after the child if Ms Begum was unable to, before explaining that the ISIS bride would feel better if her parents were looking after the newborn if she was jailed.
After serving any sentence, Ms Begum could then be reunited with her child, added her relative.
Earlier, her family called for the government to bring her back ‘urgently’.
Her parents added that her unborn baby is a ‘total innocent’ who has the right to grow up in the ‘peace and security’ of the UK.
President Donald Trump demands Europe take back hundreds of ISIS fighters
Donald Trump said European countries should take back ISIS fighters and put them on trial
US president, Donald Trump demanded Europe ‘take back’ and lock up some 800 ISIS fighters captured in Syria.
He warned the US would be forced to release the terrorists back into Europe if they were not locked up in their own countries.
Prsident Trump tweeted that the ISIS fighters captured in Syria must be taken back and and put on trial.
The US president wrote: ‘The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.’
‘The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go.
‘We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!’
Trump was referring to the ‘800 foreign terrorist fighters’ that are now being held by the American-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syria Democratic Forces.
Many of these ISIS fighters come from European countries, and the Kurdish-led SDF wants these nations to take their nationals off their hands.
But with American forces about to withdraw from Syria, there is concern as to what will happen to these detainees if Turkey – as expected – attacks Kurdish-held areas.
Ms Begum was one of three Bethnal Green Academy schoolgirls who joined the terrorist group four years ago.
The government has indicated it will not allow her to return but her family said they would now be consulting a lawyer.
Electrician Mr Rahman added that her family are seeing legal advice to try and force the government to allow her to return.
Ms Begum’s family accept that she may be persecuted and have to undergo intensive rehabilitation but add that she should not be barred from her home.
Mr Rahman also admitted that her family realise why so many people are against Ms Begum’s return to the country, but stressed that she was 15 when she left and had ‘surely been brainwashed’.
He also insisted that ‘some sort of rehabilitation’ should be tried and that her family want to be reunited again.
In an impassioned call, he said that people in the UK could show that they are ‘compassionate’ and ‘look for the best in people’.
Mr Rahman repeated that the family were stunned when they learned about Ms Begum’s move to Syria and that they would have stopped her if they knew what was happening.
Ms Begum’s parents believe that they can ‘fix’ her if she is allowed back in to the UK, he said.