Shamima Begum (pictured on her passport photo) is now 19 years old and lives in Syria – she wants to return to the UK
One student, who fled London at the age of 15 to join ISIS, was found pregnant in a refugee camp and said, "I do not regret coming here – now I just want to come to the UK".
Shamima Begum was just 15 years old when she traveled to Syria in February 2015 with her classmates Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase.
In an extraordinary interview with The Times, she said, "I know what everyone at home thinks when I read everything written online about me. But I just want to come home to have my child. That's all I want now.
She added, "I will do everything I can to get home and live peacefully with my child."
The Jihad Bride is the only known survivor of Bethnal Green's three friends and described today her "normal life" as well as witnessing bombing and the loss of her two toddlers as the caliphate broke apart around them.
She said, "I saw my first severed head in a trash can that did not bother me at all. It was from a fighter captured on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam. I just thought about what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance.
However, the 19-year-old says she has no regrets about joining the terrorist group and said she was "weak" because she had not stayed to the bitter end – but now wants to come home.
Speaking to the newspaper, she said, "I'm not the same stupid little 15-year-old student who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago. And I do not regret coming here. & # 39;
Security Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed today that Begum "has a right to come home" and return to the UK when she presents herself to a British consulate in Iraq or Turkey.
He said, "I do not risk the lives of the British people to search for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state – there are consular services in other regions of the region.
"British citizens have rights, whoever they are, but if they joined the IS and returned to the UK, they can expect interrogations and, if possible, be prosecuted."
He added: "Actions have consequences. I think the public will think about why these people want to return to a country they said they hated.
Mr. Wallace declined not to be dragged further into Begu's case, but admitted that it was "very worrying" that she had "no regrets" about joining ISIS, whom he described as "the worst terrorist group in history".
The war correspondent of the time, Anthony Loyd, who found Mrs. Begum, told Today that she was "two things": "She is the 15-year-old schoolgirl who was nursed and lured into the Caliphate, and four years later she is with this one Background an indoctrinated jihad bride. & # 39;
Loyd added, "She was not regretting, she said she had no regrets, she was calm and laid back, but she was also in shock – she had just come from a battlefield, nine months pregnant, many of her Friends She's dead, and she's gone through air strikes and the rest of it – so I do not want to be in a hurry to judge her too hard. & # 39;
Shamima Begum, then 15, in a photo of her sister Renu while being interviewed by the media in the New Scotland Yard
Shamima Begum was one of three students at Gatwick Airport when she left the UK to marry a foreign fighter for ISIS
Kadiza Sultana, then 16, Amira Abase, then 15 and Shamima Begum, then 15 (from left to right) in images released by the police in 2015 after they left for Syria
Today, it is claimed that Begum will no longer be fully returned to the UK or arrested and detained when entering British soil.
Timeline of the journey of London girls into the heart of terror
The counter-terrorism police question Shamima Begum, Kadiz Sultana and Amira Abase after their friend Sharmeema Begum goes to Syria.
February 17, 2015
The three girls are leaving Britain for Syria if they were to be in school.
The trio flew from Gatwick airport to Istanbul, Turkey, before heading overland to Syria.
The girls see Gazientep travel by bus to Syria with the Turkish Borer
One month later, the girls try to show that they lead a normal life. Amira posts a social media image of food on a table – it's called ISIS (dawla) Takeaway
Kadiza Sultana is declared dead according to proposals she tried to escape but was hit by a Russian air strike
Shamima saw Amira and Sharmeema alive
Shamima escapes and is found by the Times. She says she does not regret visiting ISIS but wants to come back to get her baby
At the time of her disappearance four years ago, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that if the girls returned, they would be treated as "victims" who would be groomed online and not prosecuted.
Around 800 men, women and children from Britain went to Syria and Iraq to join the IS. However, 400 returned and only about 40 were prosecuted for terrorist offenses.
The majority were docked using Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which refers to "Preparing for Terrorism", and can be applied to jihad brides if they can prove that they are "other people" in the preparation or carrying out acts of supported terror.
Those convicted of this law were detained for up to seven years. However, the law is amended to increase the term of imprisonment to ten years.
Gestum said yesterday evening that she understood why people in the UK did not feel sorry for her, but she insists that she would do anything to bring her baby back to the UK.
Four years ago, she arrived with her teenage girlfriend in ISIS capital Raqqa and was taken to a home for "single women".
They completed registration forms and expressed preferences about which type of fighters they wanted to relate to.
Within three weeks she was married to a Dutch jihad, Yago Riedijk, 27, a Muslim convert from Arnhem, and she is currently pregnant with her third child. The other two died before they were one year old.
Sultana married an American, Abase, an Australian and friend, Sharmeena Begum, who arrived in 2014, a Bosnian.
Miss Begum claimed she had led a normal life despite the atrocities – but now wants to return to the UK to raise the baby she is about to give birth.
When asked why she had not stayed in ISIS, she said, "I was weak."
Miss Begum and her friends, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, fled in the footsteps of another Bethnal Green schoolgirl, Sharmeena Begum, who had left a year ago. She said everyone married an ISIS alien when he reached Syria.
Miss Begum said that her first two children died of childhood illness and malnutrition.
Disillusioned, the young woman recounted how she had fled the last fortress of ISIS for fear that her unborn baby, whom she says would need to come every day, would suffer the same fate.
She received the child with the IS fighter Yago Riedijk (27), a Dutchman who converted to Islam. The couple married just a few weeks after their arrival in Raqqa in 2015. Miss Begum admitted that she knew that many wanted her to be excluded from returning home.
She acknowledged that "the caliphate is over" and experienced "so much oppression and corruption that I do not think they deserved the victory."
Miss Begum escaped from the final IS fortress in Baghuz, eastern Syria, when Kurdish forces of the West attacked the city. She said: & # 39; I was weak. I could not endure the suffering and hardships it meant to stay on the battlefield.
"But I was also afraid that the child I was giving birth to would die like my other children if I stayed.
So I fled the caliphate. Now I just want to go back to the UK. & # 39;
Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer instructed by the families of the Bethnal Green girls after she left, said he was "glad that Mrs. Begum is alive and safe."
He told the Press Association that the authorities should be reminded of the position of former commissioner of the metropolitan Bernard Hogan-Howe at the time of their disappearance.
"The position of the Metropolitan Police was that they should be treated as victims as long as they did not commit any further offenses while they are out," he said.
Mr. Akunjee said he spoke to the families of the girls who "expressed the view that they needed time and space to process what happened".
Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali said: "By the time Shamima Begum and two other girls disappeared and were feared they would be traveling to Syria via Turkey, I joined the then Interior Minister Theresa May and the head of terrorism at the Metropolitan Police.
I have appealed to them to work with the Turkish authorities to prevent the girls crossing the border into Syria.
Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the British authorities, the girls arrived in Syria, and as the subsequent reports suggest, they joined the IS.
"If Shamima Begum tries to return to Britain, it is up to the British police, the security services and the Foreign Office to rightfully uphold public safety and our national security in cases such as these."
Shamima left the UK with two friends who flew to Turkey in February 2015 and crossed the border into Syria
Their desire to return to East London will cause consternation for Interior Ministry officials, as the legal status of British ISIS brides is highly controversial.
In her first comments since her disappearance four years ago, Miss Begum repeated the propaganda of the IS, but made remarks rejecting the ISI caliphate.
Return of jihadis: The law in the UK
Britain has prosecuted only 40 prosecutors in five years, who joined IS and then returned.
In 2018, Security Secretary Ben Wallace told MEP 400 Britons who traveled to ISIS returned home, but only one in ten was put in the dock.
It is estimated that about 850 Britons have traveled to Iraq and Syria, with one in six believed to be dead.
The Home Office says every person who returns is questioned by the police and an assessment is made as to whether they pose a threat to Britain.
However, few were prosecuted.
The Terrorism and Border Security Act is currently in Parliament after its third reading in the House of Lords.
As a result, traveling to terrorist groups abroad could become a criminal offense and result in imprisonment of ten years.
The bill has now returned to the House of Commons for consideration of the Lord's amendments.
The lawyer of Shamima Begum's family has asked the authorities to treat the girl and all surviving friends as victims.
It is not yet known if Amira Abase and Sharmeema Begum lived.
Her ambiguity will cause some to question whether she was brainwashed while in Syria.
"When I saw my first severed head in a garbage bin, that did not bother me at all," she said. "It was from an imprisoned fighter who was conquered on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam.
"I was just thinking about what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance."
She also scoffed at the Western hostages she had seen beheaded on videos.
She said: "Journalists can also be spies who enter Syria illegally. They are a security threat to the caliphate. & # 39;
It is unclear whether she specifically refers to the British victims beheaded by ISIS, Alan Henning and David Haines, both of whom were killed in 2014.
Miss Begum said that Amira and Sharmeena had decided to stay in Baghuz. Kadiza was reportedly killed two years ago.
She said she last saw my two friends in June last year, but had heard two weeks ago that they were still alive.
However, she was afraid that "the recent bombing raids" might have killed her. Mrs. Begum praised her decision to stay.
"They demanded patience and perseverance in the caliphate and decided to stay behind in Baghuz," she said.
"They would be ashamed if they survived the bombing and struggled to find out I had left.
They have made their choice as a single woman. Because her men were already dead. It was her own choice to stay as a woman. & # 39; Miss Begum told her story to Times journalist Antony Loyd, who found her alone at Camp Al Hawl, a facility for some 39,000 refugees in northern Syria.
The three students had first flown to Turkey after telling their parents that they would be out all day. Later, they crossed the border into Syria. Miss Begum said, "I applied for an English-speaking fighter between 20 and 25 years old."
Kadiza married an American, Amira an Australian and Sharmeena a Bosnian. She said, "There have been many repressions of innocent people.
"In some cases, fighters who fought for the caliphate were executed as spies, even though they were innocent."
She said her husband spent six months in prison after she was charged with treason.
She left home in Raqqa in January 2017 with him and her first child, a daughter who later died with her son in the all-out chaos of military defeat.
IS has instructed jihad families to make their own decisions regarding the escape. The couple collapsed, but their husband surrendered to a fighter who resisted the IS. That was the last time she saw him.
– What action could she face if she is allowed to return to the UK?
Interior Minister Ben Wallace said that anyone who returns from the conflict in Syria or Iraq needs to be investigated by the police.
This will determine if they have committed crimes and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to national security.
"There are a number of terrorist offenses that can convict people for crimes committed abroad," he said.
– How should Mrs Begum be treated by British authorities?
Ms. Begum was a student at the Bethnal Green Academy in East London when she fled to Syria in February 2015 with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, who also attended the school.
Tasnime Akunjee, a lawyer who was ordered to leave the girls' families after the disappearance, told the Press Association that the British authorities should be reminded of the former position of former US Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.
Lord Hogan-Howe said the girls would be treated as victims unless they committed any other crimes in Syria.
– How many British women and girls have joined the IS and how many have returned?
The lack of government data has led experts to warn that the number of women and minors associated with the IS is likely to have been significantly underestimated.
An estimated 850 people from Britain arrived to support IS in Iraq and Syria, including 145 women and 50 minors, according to a report released by King's College London last year.
Of the 425 returned, only two women and four minors were listed.
– Are they a threat?
Joana Cook, senior research associate at KCL, who participated in the study, said researchers considered women as a potential security threat based on several factors.
She said: & # 39; include the physical security features and training that women have done on IS territory, and the potential to transfer or apply those skills to other places or pass them on to other people … including other women and their children. & # 39;
– What is left of the Islamic State?
When Ms. Begum left for Syria in 2015, IS took control of large areas in northern Syria and northern Iraq.
Millions of people lived in territories controlled by the terrorist group that declared the establishment of a caliphate.
Four years later, after a massive military campaign by regional forces backed by foreign powers such as America, Britain and Russia, the territory of IS has shrunk to a small village in eastern Syria.
Earlier this week, US-backed Syrian forces launched an operation to clear Baghuz, where Ms. Abum, Ms. Abase, and a fourth Bethnal Green schoolgirl, Sharmeena Begum, stayed.
The British who joined ISIS:
The Beatles & # 39;
Jihadi John was the leader of the Beatles
Alexanda Kotey, El Shafee Elsheikh, Mohammed Emwazi – known as Jihadi John and Aine Davis – form the quartet known as "The Beatles" by terrorists.
They were named for their English accents after the 60s band.
The four Londoners were linked to a series of hostages in Iraq and Syria during the bloody Islamist uprising. They were also known for waterboarding, illusion and crucifixion.
The US government said the group beheaded more than 27 hostages, including British aides David Haines and Alan Henning, in front of the camera.
Kotey and Elsheikh, who were part of the decapitation gang, which included Jihadi John, were arrested in January 2018 by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
The ringleader of the & # 39; Beatles & # 39; – Jihadi John – was killed in an air raid in Syria in 2015. Aine Davis is detained in Turkey for terrorist reasons.
Jones, 50, became known as the "White Widow" after claiming attacks on British soil in 2013 and moving to Syria with her jihadist husband Junaid Hussain.
Born in Chatham, Kent, the mother was allegedly killed along with her 12-year-old son JoJo, known as Hamza Hussain, in October 2017 during a US drone strike near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Sally Jones fled with her young son to Syria to join the ranks of the Islamic States
Jones helped ISIS lure jihadis and called for attacks on RAF bases and the Queen on VJ Day. She traveled to Syria to marry the terrorist. Hussain was killed in a drone attack in 2015, although Jones continued to produce propaganda for Daesh.
Jones was never officially removed from the US target list because her DNA was not salvaged from the ground.
It is believed that Dhar died in 2018 during an air raid
Dhar, 35, was used by propagandists after the death of compatriot Mohammed Emwazi – also known as Jihadi John – as a recruiting instrument.
Dhar, a former locksmith from Walthamstow, East London, was the right-hand man to hate the preacher Anjem Choudry.
The fugitive, also known as Abu Rumaysah, is said to have died in an air raid in 2018.
Dhar was born in London, the son of a Hindu family. His friends remember him as & # 39 ;, who drank alcohol and dreamed of becoming a dentist.
As a teenager, he was converted to Islam and radicalized by Choudary's banned Al-Muhajiroun group.
Later, he renamed Abu Rumaysah before being arrested along with Choudhary and others on charges of terror just to skip the bail.