Syria-stranded Shamima Begum 'bored' of Brexit, prefers cartoons

Syria-stranded Shamima Begum 'bored' of Brexit, prefers cartoons
In her latest interview, Shamima Begum says she has grown bored of Brexit updates as the UK remains in political deadlock.
3 min read
02 April, 2019
Shamima Begum is 'bored' of Brexit news [Getty]

Updates on the never-ending quagmire of Brexit is "boring", according to Shamima Begum, who moved to Islamic State group territories as a schoolgirl and is now stranded in a Syrian refugee camp with her British nationality revoked.

"It goes on and on without end," the 19-year-old said in an interview with British newspaper The Times.

Begum ran away from the UK to join the Islamic State aged 15 four-years-ago, but even in the Syrian desert camp of al-Hol, she still can't escape the never-ending drama that has engulfed her home country.

"It's so boring now that I ask the sisters to flick on to the cartoon channel just to get away from it," she added after a brief laugh.

Despite the light moment of laughter, she remains remorseful over not being allowed back into the UK and joining the caliphate.

"When I first came out of al-Dawlah [Islamic State] I was still in the brainwashed mentality: I still supported them because of what they told me and what they taught me," she said in the same interview.

Begum, whose third child died last month just a few days old, also says she regrets having children while living in the so-called caliphate.

"I do regret having children in the caliphate," she said. "I came thinking it would be a place of belonging where I could raise a family safely. But it was not a place to have children."

'Take responsibility'

Begum initially showed little remorse about IS attacks, sparking public outrage in Britain.

But Foreign Secretary Sajid Javid's decision to revoke her citizenship, deeming her a security risk, drew mixed reactions.

British law states that the government cannot remove a person's citizenship if it makes them stateless, unless there are "reasonable grounds" to believe they can become a citizen of another country.

It was reported that Begum could be eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship through her parents, but Dhaka said there was "no question" of her going there.

Javid had hinted that her baby could be treated differently, telling MPs previously: "Children should not suffer, so if a parent does lose their British citizenship it does not affect the rights of their child."

But he said it would be "incredibly difficult" to bring the child back from Syria, where Britain has no consular presence.

Abbott said: "To leave a vulnerable young woman and an innocent child in a refugee camp, where we know infant mortality to be high, is morally reprehensible."

Aid group Save the Children said the baby's death was "incredibly sad" and urged Britain and other countries to "take responsibility" for their citizens in Syria.

"It is possible the death of this baby boy and others could have been avoided," said the group's Syria response director, Sonia Khush.

"All children associated with (IS) are victims of the conflict and must be treated as such."