Teen who joined IS in Syria gives birth, seeks return to Britain

Shamima Begum has requested to return to Britain after leaving the country to join the Islamic State, as she gave birth to a son in a Syrian refugee camp Sunday. Photo by London Metropolitan Police/EPA

Feb. 17 (UPI) — Shamima Begum, a British teenager who left the country to join the Islamic State, gave birth to a boy, her family said through their lawyer Sunday.

The family’s lawyer Mohammed T. Akunjee shared a statement on Twitter, in which the family said they were hoping to establish direct contact with the 19-year-old Begum to confirm the child’s birth.

“We the family of Shamima Begum have been informed that Shammia has given birth to her child, we understand that both she and the baby are in good health,” the family said.

Begum confirmed she gave birth to the baby boy in an interview with Sky News and said the child was the reason she sought to return to Britain, adding she didn’t see a reason the British government would separate her from the newborn.

Begum added that “a lot of people should have sympathy” for her due to her experience.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left,” said Begum. “I was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they’d let me come back. Because I can’t live in this camp forever.”

She added the British government doesn’t “have any evidence” that she took part in any dangerous activity after joining the terror group.

“When I went to Syria I was just a housewife for the entire four years. Stayed at home took care of my kids,” she said. “I never did anything dangerous. I never made propaganda. I never encouraged people to come to Syria.”

Begum also said she didn’t participate in beheadings or other violent practices carried out by IS, but that she didn’t object to them.

“Yeah, I knew about those things and I was okay with it,” she said. “From what I heard, Islamically that is all allowed so I was okay with it.”

Akunjee told the BBC’s Radio 4 that Begum’s family was informed of the birth through a phone call from a translator at the Syrian refugee camp where she has been residing.

“They are obviously very happy and joyous that Shamima has successfully given birth and that she’s healthy,” he said.

Akunjee added the family was “very concerned” about the health of the baby after two other children she gave birth to while in the refugee camp died.

The family added Begum’s baby was “no threat” and their daughter was legally allowed to return to Britain as a British citizen.

Begum was one of three London school girls who crossed into Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015.


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