In Brief

Shamima Begum gives birth and pleads for ‘sympathy’

Teenager who fled UK in 2015 wants to return home with her ‘innocent baby’

Shamima Begum, the teenager who travelled to Syria to join Islamic State, has given birth to a boy in the refugee camp in which she is currently living.

The 19-year-old, who left the UK with two school friends in 2015, has asked for more understanding from the British public. 

Speaking to Sky News, she said: “I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through, adding: “We are now dealing with an innocent baby who we would like to get out of the camp and back to the UK.”

Begum insisted there is “no evidence against me doing anything dangerous” and says she spent her time in Syria as “just a housewife”, during which she “stayed at home, took care of my husband, took care of my kids”. 

After marrying Yago Riedijk - a 27-year-old a Dutch convert to Islam - in Syria, she had two children, both of whom died. She has named her new baby Jarah, after one of the two children she lost.

She hopes that a return to the UK would protect the health of her new baby, but she faces opposition from Home Secretary Sajid Javid. “My message is clear: if you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return,” he wrote in The Sunday Times. “If you do manage to return you should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.”

Begum and two friends from Bethnal Green Academy travelled to Syria to join Islamic State in the half-term break of February 2015. They ended up in Raqqa, where they were married to jihadists who had come to the country from around the world. One of the three, Kadiza Sultana, was killed, aged 17, in an airstrike in May 2016.

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