British Teenager Who Joined ISIS in 2015 and Now Wants to Return to UK Gives Birth in Syrian Refugee Camp

A handout photo from the Metropolitan Police Service showed Shamima Begum at Gatwick Airport in Britain in 2015.
London Metropolitan Police/EPA, via Shutterstock

The 19-year-old woman who left Britain to join the Islamic State and who recently spoke out about wanting to return home has given birth to a boy in a refugee camp in Syria.

The woman, Shamima Begum, had recently fled the last remaining village held by the terrorist group in Syria.

In a televised interview with Sky News on Sunday, Ms. Begum asked to be allowed to return to Britain. As another woman cradled her newborn, Ms. Begum also defended her actions in Syria, saying she had only taken care of her husband and children and had never made propaganda for the Islamic State or encouraged others to travel to Syria.

“I think a lot of people should have, like, sympathy toward me for everything I’ve been through,” she said. “I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left. And I just was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child, they let me come back. Because I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible.”

She also said she had no regrets about joining the Islamic State and that she had been “attracted by the propaganda videos.”

A lawyer for her family, Tasnime Akunjee, said in a statement that though Ms. Begum’s family had not spoken directly to her, “we understand that both she and the baby are in good health.”

Ms. Begum’s comments set off a fierce debate in Britain about the country’s obligations to a woman who was lured as a 15-year-old student to marry into the Islamic State. She was one of three schoolgirls, including Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy in East London who left Britain to travel to Syria in February 2015.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Benjamin Mueller